Vermont’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives said Wednesday he feared for his safety while watching protesters trying to break into the House chamber.
Democratic Rep. Peter Welch spoke to reporters Wednesday from what he described as a secure location after he and other members of Congress had been safely evacuated from the Capitol building in Washington.
Meanwhile, Vermont GOP Gov. Phil Scott said President Donald Trump should resign or be removed from office.
“There is no doubt that the President’s delusion, fabrication, self-interest, and ego have led us – step by step – to this very low, and very dangerous, moment in American history,” Scott, a frequent critic of Trump, said in one of a series of tweets he sent late Wednesday afternoon.
The protesters, who Welch called “criminals,” were in Washington to protest Congress’s certifying the results of the election of President-elect Job Biden.
Welch tweeted a pair of selfie videos from inside the House during the events. In the first video, Welch, wearing a COVID-19 mask, said they’d been told by Capital police there had been a breach and people had gotten into the building.
In the second, Welch said they’d been told tear gas in the Rotunda. “We’re being instructed to each of us get gas masks that were under our seats.”
Later, Welch said he had witnessed the protesters working to break down the door into the House chamber. He said he saw some sort of object that was being used to help break in come through the door.
“We were all in fear of our safety. The moment that was scary was when we were on that balcony and we were told to lay down and there were a couple of the Capital police officers in front of me with guns drawn,” Welch said.
He said it is the House where Abraham Lincoln once served and there had been debates about war and peace that “was overtaken by people who had been incited by President Trump to come here and do harm. It’s a lot of damage done.”
Welch said he hoped that once the building had been cleared they would be able to return and complete the certification of the electoral college votes for Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
“We can’t let this stop us from certifying the decision that the voters of this country made by deciding that their next president would be Joe Biden,” Welch said.
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