Washington lawmakers describe Wednesday mayhem in the Capitol building

Washington lawmakers describe Wednesday mayhem in the Capitol building
A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Washington lawmakers were in the midst of counting the Electoral College votes when protesters stormed their workplace on Wednesday. They describe the scene.

Rep. Rick Larsen said the demonstration on the streets of Washington D.C. began peacefully, but the protesters lost their purpose and got rowdy. He says they were egged on by the president, and he, Larsen, condemns it.

Larsen spoke to KTTH’s Jason Rantz shortly after the mayhem. He said Wednesday’s display was a threat to everything our country was founded upon.

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“Today is about a fundamental step in our democracy,” Smith said. “These folks are interfering with something that’s much more foundation than a lot of things that we deal with everyday. This is our Constitution.”

Larsen said he was locked down in his office with a few staff people as protesters stormed the building.

Rep. Adam Smith was also locked in his office when he spoke with CNN. At the time, he said he expected to get back to the Electoral College vote count Wednesday evening.

“We are determined to do our job,” Smith said.

Smith later tweeted, “President Trump and his enablers are directly responsible for the despicable acts at our nation’s Capitol that we all have witnessed today. The President incited and encouraged this riot. He has lied repeatedly, as have his enablers in Congress and elsewhere about this election.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was in the House Chambers when the protesters forced their way inside the Capitol building.

“We were instructed to pull out gas masks because tear gas was being dispensed,” Jayapal said. “Those gas masks were all under the seats where we were sitting.”

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler described the scene on the House floor, saying that “the reports you are hearing about the chaos, panic and dangerous actions by protesters are not exaggerations.”

She said Capitol police told her, while they were escorting her to safety, that they had found and detonated four bombs near the campus.

This story was originally published on MyNorthwest.com.