Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reconvened the Senate hours after throngs of pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing evacuations and pausing the joint session scheduled under the Constitution to certify the 2020 election results.
“The United States Senate will not be intimidated,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, after senators were escorted by a heavy police presence back into the chamber. “We will not be not kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats.”
McConnell, who earlier had argued that those Republican colleagues who were objecting the the Electoral College results were damaging the democratic process, again sternly said it was Congress’ role to follow the law.
“We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts,” he said, adding, “and we’re going to do it tonight.”
The top Senate Republican did not mention President Trump, or his role encouraging his supporters to convene at the Capitol.
As the chaos erupted inside and outside the building and McConnell and top leaders were rushed to a secure location, the president released a short video sympathizing with the violent mob and urging them to go home peacefully.
“We’ve never been deterred before and we will not be deterred today,” McConnell said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he had “never lived through or even imagined an experience like the one we have witnessed at this Capitol.” He said those who disrupted the proceedings should not be called “protesters” but “goons” and “domestic terrorists.” He mentioned that a woman was killed and said, “This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away.”
A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation tells NPR that the alleged shooter was a senior Capitol Police officer.
Schumer directly pointed to the president as the responsible for promoting “conspiracy theories that motivated” those who stormed the building.