PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The halls of Congress are still close to Scott Rigell’s heart.
He retired from Congress in 2016, but his current email address still bears part of the address that constituents used to find the representative’s office in the Cannon House Office Building.
That building was placed on lockdown Wednesday afternoon as an angry and dangerous mob stormed the nearby Capitol building after the 45th president repeated false claims of a rigged election and instructed his followers to march on the Capitol building as members of Congress had convened to certify the votes of the Electoral College.
In a stunning breach of security, flag-waving Donald Trump supporters stormed into the famed rotunda, broke windows, vandalized offices, and destroyed a sign bearing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s name. Trespassers helped themselves to seats on the Senate floor, posed for selfies with Capitol Police, and in a videotaped display of the violence, a woman in the mob was shot and killed by capitol police as she climbed a glass-paneled door in the capitol building.
A trespasser was trampled and killed at the Capitol, according to news reports, and a Capitol Police officer died after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Miles away, the former congressman was saddened and angered as he watched live television coverage of what he calls a Trump-inspired insurrection.
“I made a Facebook post, and this before we know shots were fired, and I said, should blood be spilled, it drips from Donald Trump,” said Rigell.
The Republican-turned-Libertarian says is he were still a member of Congress, he would have no trouble voting for what would be impeachment number two for the 45th president of the United States.
“These were not patriots despite their calls and their rhetoric. They were not patriots, they were insurrectionists and traitors in my view,” he said.
While the president’s days are numbered until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, Rigell says it will take three to five years to unravel Trump’s influence on people and politics.
“This is a long haul — this is not something that will be forgotten. This pain, this stain on our democracy, bloodshed, the desecration of those hallowed halls — those halls are for all the people — left, right and center. Those who took those flags in there and waved them while saying ‘This is our house’: No, this is our house — it’s not your house. The ramifications of this will reverberate,” said Rigell.
Some members of Congress who originally vowed to challenge the results of the Electoral College changed their positions following the deadly insurrection and did not object. But Republican congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional district was not one of them.
“Well, I’m disappointed in my friend Rob. I repudiate their vote because of the 12th Amendment that says the Senate will count and announce the winner,” said Rigell.
During the early morning hours of Jan. 7, Vice President Mike Pence announced Congress had certified the results of the November election.
Biden will be sworn in as president and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as vice-president at noon on Jan. 20.
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