Illinois Members Of Congress Condemn Storming Of Capitol
WASHINGTON (CBS Chicago/CBS News/AP) -- Many members of the Illinois congressional delegation first said or tweeted they were safe Wednesday afternoon, while also issuing strong words as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
They also called for a return to hearings to certify the 2020 presidential election.
Supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of the Senate as lawmakers counted electoral votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election. The chaos erupted shortly after Mr. Trump gave a speech once again falsely claiming to have won a second term.
The angry mob clashed with police, climbed walls and broke windows and doors at the Capitol Building. Some breached the Senate Chamber as police officers drew their guns.
In the Senate chamber, one insurrectionist got up on the dais and yelled "Trump won that election." Several dozen roamed through the halls, yelling "Where are they?" according to a pool report.
The nation's capital was under curfew Tuesday night as a result of the violence. One woman died after she was shot at the Capitol and several others were hospitalized with injuries, officials said. So far, police have not said if any arrests have been made.
By nightfall, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers would return to the Capitol to finish the counting of votes. Pelosi said the assault on the Capitol cannot "deter us from our responsibility" to validate Mr. Biden's election win.
Mr. Trump, attempting to quell the violence, told his supporters to go home but repeated the false, inflammatory claim that the election had been stolen. "We have to have peace, we have to have law and order," the president said. Meanwhile, Mr. Biden and congressional lawmakers urged the president to "step up."
"I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege," Biden said.
More than five people were hospitalized with injuries, including a woman who was shot, according to emergency officials. The woman has since died, reportedly having been shot by police.
Three other people died in medical emergencies amid the chaos, officials said.
Congressional leaders were whisked to safety.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) noted that she had spent years defending the country against both foreign and domestic enemies as a member of the Armed Forces – and she never thought she would see an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that was encouraged by the President of the United States.
"This is a shameful day, but I will not be deterred from doing my job in certifying these Electoral College ballots today," Duckworth said.
Speaking with CBS News, Duckworth said the electoral votes are secure at a location within the Capitol complex.
Duckworth said all the U.S. Senators are at a secure location in the Capitol complex, and receive regular updates from Capitol Police about the situation.
She said she was not aware of anyone in the Senate who was injured.
Duckworth placed the blame for the violence squarely on President Trump.
"This is Donald Trump's fault, he was responsible for this today, and it is shameful," Duckworth said.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin issued a statement on Twitter condemning the violence and President Trump's words.
"President Trump incited his followers to violence. They stormed the Capitol and stopped the House and Senate in session. We do not know at this point the extent of the damage or injuries they have caused," he tweeted. "This shameful chapter in our nation's history is the real legacy of Donald Trump. On January 20, we can begin the process of healing the wounds of this country and start to put this national nightmare behind us."
Both Duckworth and Durbin gave speeches condemning both the riot and President Trump when proceedings to certify the 2020 election resumed Wednesday night.
In the House, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Illinois) called the actions by the Trump supporters a "complete and utter embarrassment." When asked where the National Guard was, he replied, "I honestly have no idea."
Rep. Davis held a Zoom interview with CBS 2 in which he elaborated.
"I trust that I'm safe and secure at the moment, but there's chaos all around, especially outside, especially on the steps, specially around the capitol building, inside the Capitol," he said.
He said the violence seen Tuesday was the result of incendiary rhetoric that has been going on for some time.
"This is sort of a culmination. some of us have been you know projecting, this could happen. some of us have talked about the incendiary voices we've been hearing, especially coming form the top leadership in the country, and this is the result," he said. "It's so unbelievable. you just wouldn't think that this was the united states of America, but it is. and somehow or another, sane, sensible, rational minds have to prevail and we have to get ourselves back on track."
Davis also noted that a request for the National Guard was denied.
"I've heard that the request for the National Guard has been denied. I mean that -- I just cannot imagine," he said. It's hard to believe that the progress this country has made over the last several hundred years is attempting to be stopped. People seriously trying to take us back and it is so unfortunate."
President Trump later did deploy the National Guard to protect the Capitol. The decision to deploy the National Guard was announced in a tweet by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Davis said he was not in the chamber when the violence erupted.
"No actually, the only people in the chamber were those whose states were being challenged. I am so fortunate that I live in the State of Illinois, the state of a high level of sanity where people act in civilized ways – and so no, Illinois was not being counted. Therefore, I was not in the floor, I was not in the House," he said. "The whole thing is like watching television or watching theatre or watching something that was manufactured and created as opposed to watching the reality of what we're actually seeing."
He said it seemed like police were not sure of what to do.
"There are protesters who are you know being driven and urged on you know when a president stands up and says, 'I will never concede, I will never accept the will of the people, a majority of the people, a clear majority of the people,'" Davis said. "Even under the rules that we have adopted as a nation to sort these things out, and then people who will deny legitimate decision making to try and come to a conclusion. It's a sad day for America. It's a sad day for democracy. But we can't give in, we can't cave in, we can't give up."
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) talked with CBS 2's Charlie De Mar about his experience.
"I was watching the debate with regard to the Arizona objection that the other side filed, and then all of a sudden, a U.S. Capitol police officer came to my office and knocked on my door extremely loudly and said, 'Get out! Get out! Get out!'" he said.
There had been concern that there was a bomb in the building, Krishnamoorthi said. He said he moved to another secure location and said he was in "fight or flight" mode.
Capitol Police sprang into action as the rioting began, but Krishnamoorthi said the resources deployed were insufficient.
"They need reinforcements. They need help. They need their president, by the way, to call off these protesters right now," he said before President Trump spoke in a video address. "I have not yet heard that the president has asked them to withdraw from the Capitol."
Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Foster (D-Illinois) tweeted: "The situation at the Capitol has become dangerous. This is what weeks of undermining democracy has led to, and blame for this disgraceful situation lays at the feet of the President and the Members of Congress who have put loyalty to him above their loyalty to the Constitution."
He continued: "Every Member should call this what it is: an attempted coup, and call for it to end immediately."
Foster added in an interview with CBS 2: "This is not about party, this is about our democracy. And the center will hold, and our democracy will hold."
But Foster said serious conversations must come from what happened on Wednesday.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) said through a spokesperson that he was safe. He also issued a statement condemning the storming of the Capitol and blaming President Trump.
"First and foremost, I want to thank Capitol Police for keeping us safe today. Make no mistake: President Trump and his enablers are personally responsible for inciting this violence and he must immediately and unequivocally condemn it and urge his followers to stand down," Quigley said in the statement. "This clear act of domestic terrorism may have succeeded in delaying President Elect-Biden's certification, but there should be no doubt that he will indeed be President on January 20th."
Quigley told CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov that a debate about an objection to the Electoral College vote in Arizona was about halfway done when the chaos began.
"Then we see the Capitol Police come in and they pulled the leadership off the floor – Democrat and Republican – tells you something's up. We resumed the debate with a new speaker, and then we hear shouts, noise from outside, and then they start evacuating a few others, they barricaded the doors – there's too sets of doors to get in. A few minutes late they told us, 'Get on your gas masks,'" Quigley said.
Gas had been released in Statuary Hall, Quigley said.
'They started moving us around – those of us up in the balcony – to be out of harm's way – laying flat, crouch down, move to the corners," Quigley said.
Capitol Police then barricaded the main entrance to the House floor.
"They put a credenza, chairs, desk – it was tragic comedy – and then there were six Capitol Police officers trying to hold the door shut as protesters were trying to ram it open, and officers had their guns drawn," Quigley said.
Quigley said group of about 20 members of Congress then huddled in a corner.
"We could hear them breaking the glass to get into the House floor, and I think crouching next to a police officer who has her gun drawn, and they make a decision that we're going to, I guess, make a run for it. So you picture 20 members of Congress crouched down, sprinting the heck out of there," Quigley said.
Rep. Brad Schneider issued a statement: "This afternoon, as I was in the House Chamber for the counting of the electoral college ballots, protesters breached the security areas and entered the Capitol. After briefly sheltering in place we have been safely evacuated from the Capitol building. I am currently safe and secure. I am grateful for everyone's due concern and for the actions of the US Capitol Police."
Schneider later followed up with a statement: "Today, from the House Chamber, I experienced the unthinkable for our democracy, as the Capitol was attacked by a radical mob who would deny a free and fair American election.
"Tonight, my colleagues and I are prepared to return to the Capitol and continue the work to count the electoral votes, making Joe Biden our 46th President. Our Constitution still governs and we still stand by our oath to defend it."
Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia tweeted in the midst of the insurrection, "I am sheltering in place. My staff and I are safe, but this is a shameful day for our country."
"This is a stain on our country's image," Garcia, who represents parts of Chicago West Side, added in an interview with CBS 2's De Mar.
Garcia and other Illinois lawmakers stressed the importance of certifying the election Wednesday night.
"As insulting; as embarrassing as it was, and that our democracy and our institutions are much stronger," Garcia said.
Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois) called the storming of the Capital a coup attempt.
"A desperate attempt at a coup is about to begin -- But let's be clear: the results of the 2020 election will not be overturned. This is political theater at its worst, and the Republicans who are defying the Constitution and the will of the voters should be embarrassed," she wrote.
Rep. Sean Casten (D-Illinois) tweeted: "The President and his enablers have unleashed a beast. They alone MAY have the power to get it under control. This is an attempted coup. We need a whole of government approach to secure our democracy right now, not some childish partisan posturing."
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) tweeted that "protest" was the wrong word to use.
"Looking out of my window, I don't see protestors. I see Trump-inspired rioters. How were these lawbreakers allowed to shut down the US Congress? If they had been Black or Brown, there would be a far different portrayal. Media stop calling this a protest, this is a riot, clearly!" he tweeted.
Rep. Marie Newman (D-Illinois) tweeted: "My staff and I are safe and currently sheltering in place. I urge everyone to stay calm as this situation continues to unfold. I'm praying for the safety of all my colleagues, their staff and for this entire nation."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) called the storming of the Capitol "a coup attempt," and likewise blamed President Trump -- saying the GOP must return to its principles and "fight like hell" to protect the Constitution.
"This authoritarian bullying is what the founders feared, and it's not what the GOP stands for," he said.
Kinzinger said President Trump's repeated rhetoric going back even before the 2020 election was to blame for the insurrection.
"He even just put on Twitter something about, 'This is what happens when you steal the election.' Prior to the election, he said it was going to be stolen. Then he said it was stolen. He convinced people that this is some underground conspiracy to overthrow the will of people," Kinzinger told CBS 2's Charlie De Mar. "So to an extent, the reaction is not irrational if you really think that there is a conspiracy to overthrow the government. I think we're all going to – I've woken up a long time ago, never went to sleep – but I think a lot of people are going to wake up and realize kind of the stupor they were in at some point."
Gov. JB Pritzker also issued a statement condemning the violence in Washington.
"I'm disgusted watching the violence playing out inside and around the Capitol. First and foremost, I pray for the safety of our first responders, elected officials, staff and the public.
"This violence is abhorrent and is nothing like what the founders envisioned for this nation. The peaceful transition of power is a bedrock of our democracy. It is sacred and must be protected.
"Donald Trump has incited a violent coup attempt. And his enablers share responsibility for this, pure and simple."
Prtizker later said President Trump must be "impeached and removed from office immediately" over the violence.
"I don't make a statement like this lightly: Two weeks is too long for Donald Trump to remain in office, where he can continue to incite more untold violence," Pritzker wrote in a Facebook post. "I say this after careful thought and reflection on my responsibilities as an American and as Governor of Illinois."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Wednesday afternoon: "I am in disbelief with what is unfolding in D.C. right now. President Trump and his enablers incited this violence. Shame on every elected official in Congress and elsewhere who fomented this anti-democratic insurrection by extremists. This is not democracy. This is a disgrace."
Mr. Trump, in a one-minute video posted to Twitter, told the rioters they are "special" but "need to go home now." The president spent about as much time calling the election stolen as saying the situation should come to an end.
Not once in the video did Mr. Trump condemn the violence caused by his supporters, but instead sympathized with their anger.
"I know your pain, I know your hurt," Mr. Trump said. "We had an election that was stolen from us. it was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anybody hurt. It's a very tough period of time."
"There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election. But we can't play into the hands of these people. We have peace. So go home, we love you, you're very special. You've seen what happens. And you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace," the president said.
CBS 2's Charlie De Mar and Political Investigator Dana Kozlov contributed to this report.
(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Also From CBS Chicago:
- Car Has Been Abandoned On East 69th Street For More Than A Year As 311 Complaint Was Closed, But Never Completed
- People Wait Several Hours To Enter Chicago DMV Facility
- Despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Claims, The Chicago Police Department Isn't Tracking Wrong Raids Like The One On Anjanette Young's Home
for more features.