Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat, was among the lawmakers on duty in D.C. today when pro-Trump rioters breached the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the Electoral College certification process meant to enshrine Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. With the riots still underway, Clarke called and spoke to Cosmo while under lockdown.
We knew today would not be business as usual. We knew there was going to be protesting at the Capitol. You could hear it. The noise kind of reverberates around here. You could feel the tension. My staffer and I were going to head out, when we were stopped. We got toward the exit of the House office building and heard urgent calls coming across the radio from the Capitol Police. They were getting ready to move into operation mode.
I went back to my office and sat down. I continued to watch the Electoral College proceedings on television. I could see people basically storming the Capitol. I couldn’t believe it. When I saw the crowd sweep up onto the steps, I knew it was not a good sign. They were everywhere, like ants. That’s when all hell broke loose. In D.C., you expect protests, and you leave a little room for the fact that these folks may get violent; the one thing you don’t expect is that they will bust into the Capitol. These are individuals who have no problem with utilizing handguns, with creating violent confrontations.
They were everywhere, like ants. That’s when all hell broke loose.
It gave me a horrible pit inside of my stomach—I still feel it. Because I know the feeling of violence. I was a City Council member when my colleague, James Davis, was gunned down in the chamber.
Eventually, we got a text message that said to shelter in place, that the Capitol Complex is locked down, and to stay away from exterior doors and windows. So we’ve been in here ever since. I’m in a safe place as far as I know. The people who were in the Senate Chamber and the House Chamber thought they were in a safe place too.
We have to make sure that everyone who was here with ill intent is removed so we can go back to our work and do what we need to do for the American people. I don’t think any congressional member will feel comfortable until then.
There are a number of enablers here on Capitol Hill and I hope they’ve taken this time to reflect on how they’ve enabled this to occur.
My message to the mob: Go home. And I mean all the way home, to every corner of this nation that you traveled from to engage in this anti-American insurrection. But there has to be a price to be paid for what took place here today. It’s more important than ever that we continue to stand up for our democratic values. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I’m dedicated to unearthing exactly what happened here and how we prevent it from happening ever again.
There are a number of enablers here on Capitol Hill and I hope they’ve taken this time to reflect on how they’ve enabled this to occur. History will record where we all stood when our nation needed us the most.
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