GOP Lawmakers Decry Violence at US Capitol, Call for Prosecutions

January 6, 2021 Updated: January 6, 2021

Republican lawmakers condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6 when throngs of protesters breached the building, forcing Congress to go into lockdown.

The protesters, many dressed in pro-Trump apparel, stormed the building at around 2:15 p.m after breaking windows to get inside. Video footage shows some protesters tussling with police, others showed participants carrying American and Trump flags walking through the hall connecting the two chambers of the Capitol. One woman died after being shot inside the Capitol building.

The breach interrupted debates in both Chambers over objections to the electoral votes from the presidential election. By 6 p.m., officials declared the Capitol building had been secured.

GOP lawmakers, including those who have contested the results of the presidential election, have roundly decried the violence, with many describing the actions as “un-American.”

“What is unfolding is unacceptable and un-American. It has got to stop,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a tweet.

“America is not a country where political violence is acceptable,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters stand on the veranda of the U.S. Capitol at a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of Brandon Drey)
Epoch Times Photo
A group of protesters enter the Senate Chamber in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote in a tweet: “Those storming the Capitol need to stop NOW. The Constitution protects peaceful protest, but violence—from Left or Right—is ALWAYS wrong. And those engaged in violence are hurting the cause they say they support.”

Lawmakers also called for prosecutions of those who participated.

“This violence is unacceptable and needs to be met with the full force of the law,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) called for “federal officials to form task force to identify those who breached the Capitol, vandalized our national institutions, and expect prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law.”

The statements come as President Donald Trump issued a series of messages on Twitter this afternoon calling for peace. Twitter has since removed a tweet as well as a video posted by Trump urging supporters to go home, citing “severe violations” of its Civic Integrity policy, and locked the president out of his account for 12 hours.

Trump also authorized the deployment of the National Guard and federal officers to the Capitol to assist with quelling the protests.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Trump supporters attended a rally near the White House to protest alleged election fraud and call for greater transparency in the election process. Trump addressed the crowd, saying he would “never concede.”

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