Schumer Says He Plans on Firing Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Over Capitol Breach

January 7, 2021 Updated: January 7, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he plans on firing Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger after Democrats assume control of the Senate this month.

“If Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger hasn’t vacated the position by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” Schumer, who is set to become the Senate majority leader, told several news outlets on Thursday.

Stenger’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also said Thursday that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving will resign from his position.

Meanwhile, she called on Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to resign, saying, “Mr. Sund … he hasn’t even called us since this happened.”

The House and Senate sergeant-at-arms are responsible for security in their respective chambers and related office buildings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that “the ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them.”

“But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols,” he added. “Initial bipartisan discussions have already begun among committees of oversight and Congressional Leadership,” the majority leader remarked.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rose DeLauro (D-Conn.) and House Legislative Branch Appropriations subcommittee Chair Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said an investigation is now underway.

Sund defended the police response, saying the department had a “robust plan” ahead of the demonstrations.

“The USCP had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities,” Sund said in a statement Thursday. “But make no mistake—these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior. The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced, and I continue to have tremendous respect in the professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the United States Capitol Police.”

Sund added that police are investigating an officer-involved shooting inside the Capitol, identifying the woman as Ashli Babbitt.

Babbitt, 35, loved her country and was an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, her husband, Aaron Babbitt, said in interviews with local media.

Videos of the shooting recorded by people at the scene show a woman draped in a Trump flag climbing through a broken window beside a door with smashed glass windows in a chaotic confrontation.

“She loved her country and she was doing what she thought was right to support her country, joining up with like-minded people that also love their president and their country,” he told Fox 5. “She was voicing her opinion and she got killed for it.”

Reuters contributed to this report.