A session of Congress intended to certify Joe Biden as president-elect was recessed abruptly after less than an hour Wednesday when supporters of President Trump who had been attending a “Stop the Steal” rally pushed their way past security barricades and stormed the U.S. Capitol Building.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) was speaking on the floor of the Senate when the presiding officer, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) quickly gavelled the session into recess while Lankford was still speaking.
“Protesters are in the building,” someone could be heard on an open microphone telling Lankford.
Minutes later, the U.S. House also went into recess.
The storming of the capitol building occurred after Trump addressed the outdoor rally.
Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed past the barricades and onto the steps of the Capitol Building. Soon, they were on balconies, inside the building and onto the House and Senate floors. One made his way behind the House dais, shouting, “Trump won that election!” A stationary camera in National Statuary Hall showed dozens of them walking through, without security, as they waived pro-Trump flags and the American flag.
The president’s supporters urged him to speak out.
“Condemn this now, @realDonaldTrump – you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!” tweeted his former communications director, Alyssa Farah.
Condemn this now, @realDonaldTrump - you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) January 6, 2021
Trump soon sent out a tweet.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” Trump tweeted. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
Later, Trump posted a video on Twitter to his supporters saying, “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser set a 6 p.m. curfew.
Charles Ramsey, a former D.C. police chief, blamed Trump for the chaos.
“The president is stirring the pot. He's got his allies in there. They have unleashed something that they cannot control,” Ramsey said on CNN. “... He stirred him up. He got this whole thing going. This is as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen.”
Many on social media urged the nation to pray.
“The images we’re seeing in our nation’s capital, even within the Capitol itself, are deeply disturbing, symptoms of a national civic life that has corroded. Leadership is so needed right now,” tweeted Matthew Hall, provost of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Even more, God’s mercy & restraining grace is needed. Let’s pray for peace and justice.”
The images we’re seeing in our nation’s capital, even within the Capitol itself, are deeply disturbing, symptoms of a national civic life that has corroded. Leadership is so needed right now. Even more, God’s mercy & restraining grace is needed. Let’s pray for peace and justice.— Matthew Hall (@MatthewJHall) January 6, 2021
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Samuel Corum/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.