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Members Of Congress Described What It Was Like When A Pro-Trump Mob Stormed The Capitol

"I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks."

Last updated on January 6, 2021, at 7:14 p.m. ET

Posted on January 6, 2021, at 6:21 p.m. ET

Andrew Harnik / AP

People shelter in the House gallery as pro-Trump rioters try to break into the House chamber at the US Capitol on Wednesday.

In an unprecedented attempted coup, a pro-Trump mob — incited by the president's dangerous lies about a stolen election — pushed past police to storm the Capitol building on Wednesday.

Their acts of domestic terrorism in the halls of Congress forced lawmakers to duck and hide inside the House gallery, take shelter, and evacuate to undisclosed locations inside the Capitol while wearing "escape hoods" designed to help breathe in the case of tear gas or fires.

Members of the Senate and House, who were at the Capitol to certify Joe Biden's victory, described the moments of terror as the mob walked freely through the building, breaching the offices of Congress members, and engaging in an armed standoff with law enforcement as they attempted to break into the House chamber.

Capitol Police ordered two buildings on the Capitol campus to be evacuated due to "police activity" as the rioters first broke through the barriers at the Capitol in the afternoon.

Some House members described being evacuated early on.

Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat. Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police. This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today.

Twitter: @RepNancyMace

I’m sheltering in place in my office. The building next door has been evacuated. I can’t believe I have to write this.

Twitter: @RepHaleyStevens

Rep. Elaine Luria said she had to evacuate due to reports of a pipe bomb. The New York Times reported that a pipe bomb had been found at the headquarters of the Republican National Convention, which is a few blocks away from the Capitol.

Inside the Capitol, Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee described how he had to lie down on the floor of the House and put on a gas mask as Trump supporters banged on the door of the chamber, prompting law enforcement to draw their guns.

I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber. This is not a protest. This is an attack on America.

Twitter: @RepDanKildee
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

US Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized by a pro-Trump mob in the House Chamber on Wednesday.

Members of Congress were instructed to wear gas masks or escape hoods as they were being evacuated or taking shelter.

Tear gas dispersed in Capitol Rotunda. Congressmen ordered to grab gas masks under chairs in case have to leave in haste!

Twitter: @RepMoBrooks

I'm safe. We've been equipped with escape hoods and we're being moved through the Capitol.

Twitter: @RepAlexMooney

I am safe. We have been evacuated. Let me be clear: we will not be stopped by this lawless intimidation.

Twitter: @RepDavidTrone

With our gas masks in hand, Rep. Scott Peters and I were briskly enroute from the Capitol to an undisclosed location.

Twitter: @RepDianaDeGette
Andrew Harnik / AP

People shelter in the House gallery.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow was captured in a photo comforting his Pennsylvania colleague, Rep. Susan Wild, while they took cover in the House gallery.

Tom Williams / Getty Images

New York Rep. Grace Meng said she had been rescued from her hiding place after five hours.

She shared photos of her "DIY barricade and gas mask," saying rioters were right outside her door chanting "USA USA."

After 5 hours I’ve been rescued from my hiding place. Now i can show you my DIY barricade and gas masks. Protestors were right outside the door chanting ‘USA USA’ it was scary but i am ok! Thanks all for your prayers.

Twitter: @Grace4NY

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tweeted a photo of people ducking behind seats in the House chamber, saying, "I am safe and will not fear or leave because of this unwarranted and shameless violence."

Twitter: @JacksonLeeTX18

Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser said he stayed back in the House chamber "trying to help secure the doors."

The U.S. Capitol was stormed by rioters. I stayed back trying to help secure the doors. Capitol Police kept everyone safe, while putting themselves at risk. We must be grateful to our law enforcement and condemn violent lawlessness. God bless America. We will get through this.

Twitter: @RepMeuser

Texas Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who was inside the House chamber, described what happened when the rioters breached the Capitol.

I was in the House Chambers when they came in and told us the Capitol had been breeched. They took the Speaker out of the chambers and locked us down and told us to stay in place. Later their were popping noises where we had to get down and follow Capitol Police orders out. (1/2)

Twitter: @RepGonzalez

As we were leaving, in an act of domestic terrorism, the doors to the chamber itself were breeched. For now I’m still hunkered down in what appears to be a safe location. When our Capitol is secured I will return to the chamber to fulfill our constitutional duty. (2/2)

Twitter: @RepGonzalez

Videos from inside the House gallery showed several members and reporters crouching and hiding behind seats, as Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester said a prayer.

Listen to @RepLBR giving the prayer. I got goosebumps. https://t.co/KvKwWg8Ycr

Twitter: @ethanclynne

Watching the video of my friend @RepLBR on her knees in the House Chamber praying for safety broke my heart today. The Capitol was attacked today and those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Twitter: @RepMarkWalker

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart thanked Capitol Police after he was locked in a room with them for a couple of hours "surrounded by violence and anger."

Huge appreciation for our @CapitolPolice. I was locked in a small room with them for a couple of hours surrounded by violence and anger. They were calm and professional every moment. They represent the best our nation has to offer.

Twitter: @RepChrisStewart

New York Rep. Sean Maloney also said he was on the House floor when pro-Trump supporters attempted to enter.

Today is a sad and infuriating day. We thank the Capitol Police and the staff many of whom were in real danger. I was on the House Floor when protesters attempted to enter. We evacuated and are safe. The President and his enablers have incited this violence. It must stop.

Twitter: @RepSeanMaloney

California Rep. Scott Peters told Hill pool reporters what it was like being evacuated from the House gallery as Trump supporters tried to break down the doors of the chamber and enter.

He said he saw people being ushered out from the floor below but said that he and others were instructed to "get a mask, be ready."

And then started to get us to snake around the back of the gallery, under the rails and stuff, so we did that for a while. And when they stopped us, when we got over to other side of the gallery, the Republican side, they made us all get down, you could see that they were fending off some sort of assault, it looked like.

They had a piece of furniture up against the door, the door, the entry to the floor from the Rotunda, and they had guns pulled. And they just told us to take our pins off. I think we would have been pretty easily identified without our pins, but anyway we took our pins off, and then finally at one point they got us a way to get off the gallery floor, and then so we snaked over to the evacuation.

He also described the fear the people felt while hiding in the gallery.

"Some people were pretty scared up there," he said. He said it felt like they were "well defended," but added, "it sure did appear pretty close to us today."

Andrew Harnik / AP

People shelter in the House gallery as pro-Trump rioters try to break into the House chamber.

Another member of Congress, Rep. Pete Aguilar from California, who was in the House chamber, told Hill reporters that he messaged his wife and his family about his safety and followed the guidance of Capitol Police.

Many other members of Congress tweeted they were safe but denounced the violence inflamed by Trump's rhetoric.

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.

Twitter: @RepSchneider

My team and I are safe. I am in disbelief. I can’t believe domestic terrorists are roaming around inside the Capitol. I’m remembering being brutalized and treated like a domestic terrorist just for protesting to keep my people alive. St. Louis: you’re in my heart right now.

Twitter: @CoriBush

Safe with other Senators. We are eager to get back on Senate Floor when safe and resume the certification of the election. I applaud President-elect Biden’s remarks a few moments ago.

Twitter: @SenatorLeahy


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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