What It Was Like From One Who Was There

Politico’s morning email thingie has a first person account from one of their reporters who was on the scene and evacuated during the insurrection by Republicans:

HOW IT BEGAN: I was with my POLITICO colleagues inside House press gallery shortly before the joint session began at 1 p.m. Demonstrators had already encircled the Capitol outside, but if you had asked me whether the anger would escalate into the storming of one of the nation’s most iconic institutions, I would have brushed you off as hyperbolic. How wrong was I?

My belief that the Capitol building is safe is shattered. People broke into a highly protected building while the vice president of the United States was presiding over a joint session of Congress, full of hundreds of America’s elected officials.

ESCALATION: It didn’t become clear to me how serious the situation was until I saw this tweet: https://bit.ly/2XjAJ8e

Then the lockdown messages began pouring in. No one could enter or leave the Capitol complex. Authorities ushered the group of reporters I was with into the House gallery. They barricaded the doors behind us.

The enormity of the crisis sunk in when I saw HuffPost’s Igor Bobic tweet out a photo of rioters in the Senate. https://bit.ly/3hSMVGu

Fear came first, then the chaos ensued. Messages from the U.S. Capitol Police to ‘Stay calm’ were soon followed by police announcing they deployed tear gas in the Capitol Rotunda and members should find emergency escape hoods, which could be used essentially as gas masks, below their seats. That’s when the gravity of the situation seemed to fully click for lawmakers, who also realized what was unfolding as the crinkling sound of unwrapping our hoods filled the House chamber.

BLAME: Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) shouted at his GOP colleagues: “This is your fault.” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), sitting in the House gallery, yelled at Republicans located below to ask their “friend” Trump to tell the rioters to stand down. As I recall, both were met with groans.

Then very quickly, members and staff, holding or wearing their escape hoods, were ushered from the House floor, followed by press and other lawmakers in the gallery. It was difficult to walk through the gallery because of the narrow path between the stationary chairs, not to mention the brass guardrails that section off various parts of the area. It was right as I reached the guardrail that the police shouted for everyone to take cover.

I still crossed the guardrail and after I found a suitable hiding spot, I realized the glass panels on a door to the House entryway had been shattered, and Capitol police were aiming their guns through the small holes at faceless intruders I could not see on the other side. I wondered, then, would I see someone die today?

THE EVACUATION: At some point, the evacuation resumed. And once out of the gallery, we were moved down various stairwells and hallways with a cloud of confusion over where we were going and where the intruders were at that very moment, while police officers stationed at various checkpoints told us to keep moving. It was here that the full impact of the day began to hit me. I felt my right leg shaking and I held onto the wall as we were evacuating to a safe room, while trying to ask members whether shots were fired. I was still on the job.

FINDING REFUGE: At various points I was able to link back up with my House colleagues, Melanie and Sarah, but as quickly as we were brought together, the chaos and the frenzy pulled us apart. I’d lost them by the time I reached the safe room that members and reporters were being escorted to — or so I thought. But then a guard at the door stopped reporters from entering: “No press.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) stepped in to defend us and pressed the guard to let us in. But the guard didn’t budge. As we stood confused and trying to figure what to do next in an open hallway, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) offered us his office, where I went with five other reporters until we got the all clear hours later. We are all very grateful for your help, congressman.

The tumultuous pace of the day destroyed my sense of chronology. But even as my mind works to spit out various memories I’m sure it is trying hard to erase, I’m certain this is an episode that neither I nor our country will ever forget.

Now, for the details I didn’t see.

RIGHT BEHIND PENCE: After the rioters breached the Capitol, the vice president and top congressional leaders were whisked away to undisclosed locations as the intruders streamed through Statuary Hall and into the Senate.

“They broke windows and one man sat in the very seat Pence had been sitting in just a few minutes before, while another was in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office,” my colleagues report.

“We will not back down,” read a handwritten message that was left on the speaker’s desk.

CONFIRMED DEATH: “At one point, gunfire was heard inside the Capitol as Capitol police officers barricaded the doors to the House chamber, guns drawn and blocking rioters from entering. Police later confirmed one person was shot and killed, although the specific circumstances of that shooting have yet to be released,” my colleagues reported.

And one rioter, who was scaling scaffolding outside of Senate leadership offices, was injured after they fell more than 30 feet from the scaffolding.

More on the chaos from Sarah, me, Melanie, Burges and Marianne — all of whom were in the Capitol as these events unfolded. http://politi.co/3nq58w2

This entry was posted in 2020 Goat Rodeo, Insurrection, Sedition, Tiger Beat on the Potomac. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to What It Was Like From One Who Was There

  1. osirisopto says:

    I fear for us more than I ever feared during the cold war.
    Back then I felt no one in power was stupid enough or instance enough to start a nuclear war.

    Trump is both, he’s also mentally ill. Everyone knows that now.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. And on EVERY SINGLE TWEET I”ve read a bunch of nobodies jump in to claim this was all Antifa not Trump supporters.

    Apparently our lying eyes are lying to us again, but what’s worse is there’s some sizeable portion of 74 million goddamned “Americans” who now believe this shit.

    I REALLY hope this isn’t the ‘Beer Hall Putsch’ stage of the fascist takeover of the US…

    Liked by 1 person

    • sos says:

      It’d seeming like our only choices may be: Reichstag fire, Kristallnacht or Beer Hall Putsch.

      Liked by 2 people

    • spotthedog says:

      It is dangerously intolerable for him to remain in power another 13 days with literally millions of fanatics willing to take a bullet for him while acting out his schemes. Anybody who fell for his use of words like “peace” and “orderly transition” is a fool, he’s pondering his next stunt(s) at this moment.

      Liked by 3 people

      • MDavis says:

        Finally actual Republicans are “considering” a 25th Amendment removal. Should be to the final signing stage rather than just considering IMO, but the considering, IMO, should have started when he called the Charlottesville rioters “very fine people” so whadoIknow.

        Like

  3. Redhand says:

    Imagine what could have happened if terrorists like those from Pakistan, who invaded that hotel in Mumbai, had come in with automatic weapons and grenades, etc. They could have killed dozens of people, including VIPs. See https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-111shrg49484/html/CHRG-111shrg49484.htm

    Given what happened at the Michigan State Capitol last summer, it’s effing horrifying that this happened in the Federal Capitol Building.

    IMO the Capitol Police should be dissolved, and a real police force put in place. Also, Trump MUST face federal charges for his role in instigating this violent attempt to change our form of Government. This wasn’t just a protest: it was a violent insurrection.

    Maybe after Jan. 20 right-wing domestic terrorism threats to the USA won’t be swept under the rug as Trump has, because they are “his people” and he “loves them.”

    The mofo needs to face federal charges when he is no longer president. PERIOD. And all these fuckers who can be ID’d inside the Capitol need to be tracked down and prosecuted.

    Liked by 7 people

    • tengrain says:

      Redhand,

      One of the many things I hate about this timeline is that it is making me feel like a 1960s Republican looking at the hippies.

      I just want to lock up all the Nazis, er, Republicans until we can find a cure for them.

      Rgds,

      TG

      Liked by 2 people

      • Redhand says:

        I know how you feel, but we have to consider the fatal results. This wasn’t just an “unlawful assembly” or Chicago 7 type event (yeah, I know the police rioted there and caused many injuries). It was literally an attack on “the structure of our government,” which cost lives — one shot dead on the premises and three others “for medical reasons. Here’s a rough parallel: The 1954 United States Capitol shooting, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_United_States_Capitol_shooting

        I would say this lies somewhere between 1954 and 1968, but the optics are hideous: the barbarians weren’t at the cates, they got inside the Roman Senate and desecrated it, etc. etc. There must be payback, including against Trump himself.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. roket says:

    From what I understand there were four deaths yesterday. One woman was shot by Police (probably either right between the eyes or right through the heart) and the other three died from shock because they were being treated like insurrectionists instead of patriotic principled conservatives. This makes the count 1 martyr and 3 raptures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MDavis says:

    Oh, FFS!
    Looking for the guy fascinated by these human viruses breaking windows to get in and then following the guidelines of those red velvet rope train markers.
    Found this:

    Like

    • sos says:

      Whelp! I guess there is always that one weird rat that boards the sinking ship.

      Like

      • MDavis says:

        I mean, WTAF???!!!

        Like

      • MDavis says:

        Still haven’t re-found that velvet rope after smashing windows with a stolen police right shield (unless he was off duty and just brought his own) I hope someone posts it if they see it. The contradiction should be a poster of what these yahoos are all about.
        Break shit to get our way, our way being to be a bunch of sheep, but the right kind of sheep!

        Like

      • MDavis says:

        DOH! There it is, in Tengrain’s “Possum Hooer …” post. I thought I’d seen it in the comments! Double OH!
        Seriously, poster boys for these magats.

        Like

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