WASHINGTON (WAVY) — On Thursday, crews were busy cleaning up in the aftermath of the chaos at the U.S. Capitol.
A mob stormed the building the day before, as Congress counted Electoral College votes from the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Four people died during the protest, including a woman shot by Capitol Police.
Some lawmakers believe President Donald Trump incited the violence and are calling for his removal from office.
10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox spent the day Thursday in D.C. talking to lawmakers about the chaos that emerged. When he first arrived, the Capitol grounds were open, but U.S Capitol Police later closed down the immediate area only to those properly credentialed.
He watched on as they constructed additional fencing for security.
Virginia Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who was in her office at the time the protesters breached the building, thinks Trump is responsible.
“He did everything he could to anger these people. I think he bears full responsibility for what happened yesterday,” she told WAVY News 10.
Luria thinks Trump and the messages he sends basically lit the fuse that blew up the bomb.
“You go back to the debate when he told the Proud Boys to stand by, he told his supporters to come here to Washington yesterday. I believe he encouraged people to mob the Capitol. I think he has encouraged this hatred of the last four years and you saw the ultimate attack on democracy,” Luria said.
U.S. Congresswoman Deborah Dingell from Michigan was on the House floor when Wednesday’s attack was taking place. She recounted what she witnessed as law enforcement entered the chamber.
“They rushed the leadership off out of the chamber. We wanted to still keep the process going, then they came in and told us that we needed to sit down, pull out the gas masks, we may need to get on the floor very quickly. Other colleagues were helping to secure the chamber. Then you heard the pounding, you heard the gunshots, you smelled the tear gas and ultimately we were evacuated.”
As additional security fencing goes up around the Capitol grounds, there are many questions about why there wasn’t enough planning or security to control the protest that turned into a riot.
“I think we have to have an investigation, but a lot of law enforcement worked hard to keep us safe. I think a lot of questions need to be asked about why the National Guard wasn’t here, and it was my understanding the White House wouldn’t authorize it.”
Biden’s win certified
Congress reconvened Wednesday night after authorities cleared the Capitol.
Despite the upheaval from pro-Trump rioters — and resistance to the Electoral College vote certification from some Republicans — Biden’s win was certified in the early morning hours Thursday.
All four Republicans in Virginia’s Congressional delegation, including Rep. Rob Wittman, opposed counting Biden’s electoral votes in at least one state.
To that, Luria said she was “disappointed.”
“I was very disappointed in the way Rob Wittman voted. He voted to reject the results from Pennsylvania but accepted Arizona. He was one of the few with a split vote.”
Wittman has said he objected due to Pennsylvania’s “unconstitutional” changes to election procedures for the November election.
Early Thursday, Wittman released a statement on the outcome, in which he condemned Wednesday’s violence.
The statement also reads, in part: “I took an oath to defend the Constitution and that is what I will continue to do as the Representative of the First Congressional District of Virginia. That oath led me to vote against certifying the electors from Pennsylvania because of unconstitutional changes to the administration of the 2020 general election, which bypassed the constitutionally vested power of the state legislature and fundamentally changed the state’s election procedures. Simply put, the evidence is clear that Pennsylvania failed to follow the laws and constitutional tenets that govern its elections. Furthermore, the legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s election is still underway and is currently on the docket of the United States Supreme Court.”
From outside the building
Former Virginia Beach resident Mike Katz was out riding his bike Thursday, holding a sign. He has a lot to say about the president.
“This is who he really is. He is a liar, he’s a tax cheat, a grifter, he’s a narcissist. Most likely a racist, and he’s definitely, unequivocally, a loser,” said Katz.
A Trump supporter from Michigan would not give his name, but he does not fault Trump for the unlawful activity at the Capitol.
“What he did was ask people to come and support him and when they came to support him nothing about storming the Capitol. He said protest outside the Capitol; that is perfectly reasonable.”
“Destroyed the republican party? Yes, it did, but placing the blame on Donald Trump is in error,” he added.
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