U.S. Capitol Congressional buildings and the electoral certification procedures in the Senate and House of Representatives have been violently disrupted by President Donald Trump’s supporters.
A member of the Senate told NBC News that Vice President Pence and Sen. Charles Grassley, the president pro-tem, have been taken to a secure location. The Senate chamber was also evacuated and lawmakers were told to stay away from exterior doors and windows.
Lawmakers had just begun the procedural process of counting the Electoral College votes and formally declaring President-elect Joe Biden the winner.
Earlier, Trump, during a rally, encouraged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol to protest the confirmation of Biden’s victory. Trump, despite telling the crowd he would join them in the march to the Capitol, returned to the White House.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for query. Trump in a pair of tweets, slammed his Vice President Mike Pence and also called on supporters to “Stay peaceful!”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a city-wide 6 p.m. EST curfew until Thursday, January 7. Bowser’s office has also requested the presence of the U.S. National Guard.
The Pentagon, when asked about requests for the U.S. National Guard, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for query.
The Cannon House Office Building and Madison Building were evacuated earlier in the day. Occupants that were evacuated from Cannon, on the House side of the Capitol, had been given clearance to re-enter the building.
Capitol Police didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on whether the evacuations were related to the protests. As chaos spread inside the Capitol, members of Congress tweeted dramatic descriptions from the complex. “This is a coup attempt.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican tweeted. Rep. Peter Welch, the Democrat who is Vermont’s at-large congressman, said in a tweet that “gas masks are being prepared.”
According to MSNBC, a protestor who breached the legislative chambers shouted, Trump won that election!” Sen. Mitt Romney, the Republican from Utah, directly blamed Trump for the riot. “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection,” said Romney, who was the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee.