Democrats, Republicans blame Trump for inciting 'coup' as mob storms Capitol
WASHINGTON - Congressional Democrats and some Republicans on Wednesday accused President Donald Trump of inciting a coup after an angry mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, interrupted the proceedings and triggered an evacuation of lawmakers.
Throngs of pro-Trump rioters busted through security barricades, breaking windows, climbing on rafters, ripping down American flags and roaming the Senate chamber. Lawmakers were told to grab gas masks as police deployed tear gas inside the Rotunda, the ornate area under the dome that connects the House and the Senate.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called it a "coup attempt." He later commented directly to Trump: "You are not protecting the country. Where is the DC guard? You are done and your legacy will be a disaster."
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., assailed Trump.
"Today, the United States Capitol - the world's greatest symbol of self-government - was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard - tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution," the senator said in a statement. "Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division."
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., blamed Trump's rhetoric, saying, "our president should have given a much more clear tone. Leaders create calmness and direction; they don't inspire people to get angry and do the things that they're doing."
He called on the president to "stand up and be a better leader on this, because he has not been in my view . . .. He needs to respect the peaceful transition of power."
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, as he was led away to safety, told a New York Times reporter, "This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, implored Trump to "tell your supporters to stop the violence. Stop the assault. Now."
Former congressman Will Hurd, R-Tex., who retired last year over his frustrations with Trump's takeover of the party, called it "domestic terrorism."
"This should be treated as a coup led by a president that will not be peacefully removed from power," Hurd tweeted.
Democrats, some tweeting from hiding places within the Capitol, reacted passionately to the chaos around them.
"On August 24, 1814, the British stormed our Capitol and set fire to it," tweeted Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. "Now the Capitol has again been breached and sieged. Donald Trump incited this. He is responsible for this. And he is silent as this tragic moment continues."
Trump eventually released a one-minute taped statement telling his supporters to "go home now." Still, he continued his baseless claim that the presidential election was "fraudulent."
"I know your pain, I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it - especially the other side," he said, reiterating the same false allegations that have incensed his supporters. "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."
Still, many saw Trump's statement as falling short of his responsibility as president to quell the unrest.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., accused Trump of urging "the Proud Boys to show up today in a barely veiled invite to disrupt the count. You'd be blind to not see this coming. And now it's time to end it."
"This is thuggery at its best," tweeted Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y. "And the flames are being stoked by the person currently in our #WhiteHouse. Donald Trump is responsible for this. #TrumpThugs."
In a statement, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said the "violence must end."
"[T]hose who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job," he added.
Meanwhile, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex., said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and Hawley - who was the first senator to announce that he would object to certifying Biden's electoral college victory - should "immediately resign."