By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
This week, members of Congress gathered to count the electoral votes from this past November’s Presidential Election. Congress planned to affirm that President-elect Joe Biden had won, but those plans were halted when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building.
Since the announcement of Biden’s winning last year, supports of President Donald Trump have expressed their disgruntlement and anger over the results. Trump himself asked several states, including Wisconsin, to recount their ballots, or for other states to disregard the ballot tally.
Supporters of Trump decided to take their anger out on the election results and stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
According to CNN, rioters pushed their way through the barriers that had been set up along the perimeter of the Capitol. Behind the barriers stood police officers, who were there to manage the crowd. However, after breaking through the barrier, protestors entered the building and headed toward the doors of the House and the Senate.
The House floor was evacuated. At the time, Vice President Mike Pence was in the chamber as it falls under his duty to be present during the counting of electoral votes.
Around 5 p.m. ET, Congressional members were being evacuated from the building and taken to Fort McNair, an Army base in Washington, CNN reported. Once the area was deemed secure, people began returning to building with the intent to proceed as planned.
“Today’s shameful assault on our democracy – anointed at the highest level of government – must not deter us from our responsibility to the Constitution,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted on Wednesday, Jan. 6. “Tonight, we will move forward with the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election.”
Prior to the riot, Trump had been giving a speech at the Save America March. Following the riot and the affirmation of Biden as president-elect, Trump said there would be an orderly transition of power.
Four people have died as a result of the riot, including a woman who was shot in the chest during the event.
Many media outlets noted that the last time the U.S. Capitol was overrun was in August 1814 during the War of 1812.
“What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent – it was disorder,” President-elect Biden tweeted on Thursday, Jan. 7. “They weren’t protestors – they were rioters, insurrectionists, and domestic terrorists. I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming, but that isn’t true. We could.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers released a statement regarding the riot.
“As are so many Wisconsinites and Americans, I am watching these horrifying events unfold in Washington, D.C. in disbelief,” Evers said. “The peaceful transfer of power is at the very heart of our government and our country. This is an attack on our democracy. Period.”
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes tweeted, “Make no mistake – the violent insurrection we witnessed today at the U.S. Capitol didn’t just happen. It was enabled by the people who were entrusted to lead and elected officials who spread lies about our election.”
He continued, “The president and other officials whose actions encouraged these individuals and incited violence are every bit as complicit in these attacks on our democracy.”