As pro-Trump rioters began storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Tammy Duckworth was heading to the Senate floor.
“I was actually in the tunnels under the complex when the breach occurred and Capitol Police told me to barricade myself in a secure location, which I did,” the Illinois Democrat told NPR’s All Things Considered.
Speaking early Wednesday evening from an undisclosed location within the Capitol complex, Duckworth said she was in a room full of her Republican and Democratic Senate colleagues and their staffers.
When the U.S. Capitol Police placed the congressional complex on lockdown, many senators were brought to that secure location, she said, adding that others were still being brought in from around the congressional complex.
“We’re just astonished that this is happening, grateful to the Capitol Police for keeping us safe,” Duckworth said. “But frankly, we’re anxious to get back to work.
“I think many of the Republican Senators feel the same way, I have not spoken to all of them.”
Before the mob breached the Capitol, Congress was in the process of officially recognizing President-elect Joe Biden’s election win. Proceedings had just been delayed after Republican lawmakers challenged the results of Arizona’s vote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said later that Congress would reconvene Wednesday night to continue the certification process.
When Duckworth was asked if she thinks the shocking scenes at the Capitol would cause any of those Republican objectors to change their minds about the election, she said she wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know that they disbelieved the results of the election,” Duckworth said. “I think that maybe some of them are realizing the enormity of appealing to, you know, those who believe in conspiracy theories, and the damaging effects it has on our democracy and our institutions.”