Texas lawmakers react to protesters storming US Capitol

Friday, January 8, 2021
Houston representatives reminisce on Capitol Hill chaos
What was set to be a busy day for Congress turned into chaos when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Hear from Houston representatives who were caught in the middle of it all.

TEXAS (KTRK) -- What was set to be a busy day for Congress turned into chaos when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. As deadly riots unfolded, Congress members were taken to safe locations where they later took to social media to express themselves about the recent events taking place in Washington D.C. Some of those elected leaders in the building tweeting about their experience including Texas lawmakers.

Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Trump issued a restrained call for peace and called for his supporters to go home.

Lawmakers of the Lone Star State said the following of the recent events:

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw called for protesters to "Stop the b******* right now."

SEE ALSO: Mob of Trump supporters storm US Capitol, lawmakers evacuated; 1 shot during melee

Former President George W. Bush also released the following statement on the protest, calling it a "sickening and heartbreaking sight."

"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic - not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement. The violent assault on the Capitol - and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress - was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation. In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety. May God continue to bless the United States of America."

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) tells ABC13 she heard a lot of shouting and "a lot of hysteria in terms of officers trying to protect us and for us to be able to move." She said members of Congress crouched down, took cover and looked out for each other.

"Right in that area, we were holding hands and praying because we couldn't move," she said.

When she was in a safe location, she tweeted she was safe and said "We will stay on the floor until every vote is counted and President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are again confirmed as President and Vice President of the United States of America."

A short time later, Jackson Lee told ABC News in a live interview she said this was a "call to war."

"We believe that people have a right to have a difference of opinion. But this was not a difference of opinion," Jackson Lee said. "This was a call to war and a call to action as called by the sitting President of the United States."

When asked if she thought impeachment should be considered, Jackson Lee said, "I think it should and I guess there'll be a number of members, doing so, because I am going up as a member of the Judiciary Committee articles of impeachment. I think we have seen today some actions that in our lifetime, we would never have expected to see."

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D), who thanked followers for their concern, told ABC13 she arrived at the Capitol early.

"We knew [Wednesday] with the certification of the electoral college votes, it was going to be a day that was long and there were a lot of tensions that were high" said Fletcher. By early afternoon Fletcher was in the gallery area of the house chamber before the chaos erupted.

"Part of the question while we waited was whether the third-floor area was secure and we could exit. When we did exit, we had to crawl through the balcony to get to the other side where there was a door that had been secured. When we came out, we saw some of the rioters who had come into the building," said Fletcher.

Fletcher and Jackson Lee said the rioters were being held back and the U.S. representatives were all taken to a secure area.

"It's hard to describe how strange it was to be in that chamber, which is really just a hallowed space and to feel this attack, which didn't just feel like it was an attack on us as the people inside, but on our democracy," said Fletcher.

Former Fort Bend County Sheriff, Rep. Troy Nehls shared a photo on Twitter, showing him next to Capitol police attempting to stop a protester. "I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Capitol police barricading entrance to our sacred House chamber, while trying to calm the situation talking to protestors. What I'm witnessing is a disgrace. We're better than this. Violence is NEVER the answer," Nehls wrote.

SEE ALSO: Lockdown interrupts joint session to confirm Biden's win as Trump supporters storm Capitol Hill

Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted at protesters that "violence is ALWAYS wrong." He added that those engaged in violence are hurting the cause they say they support.

As the events unfolded, Cruz tweeted "violence is unacceptable. Even when passions run high."

Rep. Al Green (D) called for President Trump to "stop this madness."

In the state, while there are no protests planned, the Texas Department of Public Safety closed the Texas Capitol Wednesday afternoon "out of abundance of caution."

SEE ALSO: Texas Capitol shuttered in wake of DC protest

The Twitter account for the Harris County Republican Party posted a statement by Harris County Republican Party Chairman Cindy Siegel: "I strongly condemn the violence at the U.S. Capitol today. Disrupting our democratic process and putting the safety and lives of others in danger should not be tolerated. Americans are better than this," the tweet read.

The Texas Republican Party also issued the following statement regarding the protest:

"The Republican Party of Texas in no way endorses Walter West's statement about the lawlessness occurring at the Capitol Building. He will be removed as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Party. Whereas we vigorously support the First Amendment right to freely assemble, we condemn violence and pray for all gathering in our nation's capital and those at the Capitol Building. The Texas GOP has always been on the side of law and order and will remain so."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also called for protesters in the state and the Nation's capital to "practice their constitutional right in a peaceful manner."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also released the following statement to ABC13 regarding the protest on Capitol Hill:

"Peaceful protest is a core tenet of the United States Constitution; violence and mayhem are not. The violence and mayhem must stop. America is founded on the rule of law, and the law enforcement officers working to restore order at the United States Capitol must be heeded."

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