Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Legislative Leaders And Members of Tennessee’s Congressional Delegation Condemned Riotous Behavior Wednesday At The U.S. Capitol By Protestors From A Pro-Trump Rally.
Photo: People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik / AP
Published January 7, 2021
The Center Square [By Vivian Jones]-
Protesters, singing the National Anthem, stormed the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday as Congress was meeting to certify results of the Electoral College in the 2020 presidential election.
The havoc caused both chambers to recess and drove members of both chambers to don emergency gas masks and take shelter.
Speaking to Hunter Walker of Yahoo News, a Knoxville woman said she was maced as she tried to enter the Capitol.
“We’re storming the Capitol. It’s a revolution!” the woman said.
“The violence happening in our nation’s capitol is inexcusable and an affront to our founding principles and freedoms,” Lee said in a statement. “I stand with our Tennessee delegation that order must be restored immediately and thank law enforcement for their professionalism.”
Both of Tennessee’s U.S. senators and six of the seven Republican House members joined an effort to object to Electoral College results. Tennessee Senate Minority Leadership condemned the rioters and the members of Congress behind the Electoral College challenge.
“Let’s be clear-eyed about what’s happening: the President incited a mob that has disrupted Congress in performing its constitutional duty and endangered the safety of people in the Capitol,” Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro tweeted. “The Senators & Representatives who supported his effort aren’t fit to serve.”
“THIS is insane. All the elected officials who have encouraged this- [Sen. Bill Hagerty] & [Sen. Marsha Blackburn]- are responsible,” Senate Minority Caucus Chairperson Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “You all are responsible for the violence, terrorism, and the crisis that our country is in right now. Blood is on your hands.”
“I have always believed in peaceful protesting. What is happening at the U.S. Capitol right now is not peaceful, this is violence,” tweeted Sen. Bill Hagerty, who was sworn in Sunday. “I condemn it in the strongest terms. We are a nation of laws and this must stop.”
Tennessee’s senior senator, Marsha Blackburn, agreed.
“These actions at the U.S. Capitol by protestors are truly despicable and unacceptable,” Blackburn tweeted. “While I am safe and sheltering in place, these protests are prohibiting us from doing our constitutional duty. I condemn them in the strongest possible terms. We are a nation of laws.”
Republican leaders condemned the violence and called for order to be restored immediately.
“Peaceful protest is one thing. But what is happening in Washington, D.C. is not that,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said in a statement. “I pray that order is restored immediately and that the constitutionally outlined certification process resume unimpeded.”
“Just like the events in Nashville last May, what is happening in Washington right now is chaos, it is violence, and it must stop,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said in a statement “Those who are defying our laws must be held accountable for their despicable actions.”
Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis shared his experience, describing being locked inside the House chamber as protesters entered the Capitol building and wearing a gas mask as he sought shelter.
“Where is Generalissimo Trump? Call off your revolutionary troops. You are at war with America!” Cohen tweeted from the House chamber around 3 p.m. EST.
Cohen later called Trump “an enemy of America.”
“Trump has been egging this on for months. And he won’t stop,” Cohen wrote. “He is not acting as President of the United States he’s acting as a sick narcissistic hurt and wounded loser.”
Barricaded in his office, Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper wrote “this is a dark day for America,” sharing that he and his staff were safe.
All members of Tennessee’s delegation shared on social media that they were safe.
Tennessee GOP Chairman Scott Golden released a statement calling for law and order.
“We have the right to be heard, but not to the point of violence and destruction,” Golden wrote. “The Republican Party is the party that supports law enforcement, rights, and the rule of law, and not defunding the police. Today’s perpetrators will be brought to justice and the truth will come to light. For now, let’s act responsibly, pray for our country and our leaders, and get ready to Make America Great Again.”
After the Washington, D.C., National Guard responded to the situation, the Capitol Sergeant at Arms announced that the Capitol was secure at about 5:30 p.m. local time.
About the Author:
Vivian Jones, Staff Reporter
Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.