Democrats leave Capitol to join student gun protest

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate exited the Capitol on Wednesday to march with and speak to students protesting gun violence to mark one month since the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

Senior members of Democratic leadership joined other lawmakers from the House and Senate on Capitol Hill as thousands of students marched while others around the country walked out of classes or staged other protests.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFox News host Watters says spending bill was 'huge defeat' for Trump Amtrak to rename Rochester station after Louise Slaughter Conscience protections for health-care providers should be standard MORE (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi condemns Trump's 'cowardly, disgusting' ban on transgender troops Trump threatens to veto omnibus over lack of wall funding, DACA fix Congress votes to expand deficit — and many in GOP are unhappy MORE (Calif.) both spoke to the demonstrators, while other Democrats such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchStudents bash Congress for inaction on gun control Judiciary Dems warn Trump: Don't fire Mueller, Sessions during House recess Gun protests sweep nation as House passes school safety bill MORE (Fla.) and Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonSpending bill prevents employers from pocketing tips under tip-pooling rule Democrats leave Capitol to join student gun protest Federal prosecutors charge three in Minnesota mosque bombing MORE (Minn.) were spotted in the crowd.

"[We are] representing in Congress the students who have sacrificed so much, spoken so eloquently, commanded the attention of the nation," Pelosi told the crowd. "We are all moved by your eloquence and fearless insistence on action to prevent gun violence."

"Don't give up the fight! We will win," added Schumer.

Video captured by BuzzFeed news showed dozens of Democratic lawmakers and staff members walking down the steps of the Capitol to join the protest in the "Congressional Solidarity Walkout."

A large crowd of students surrounded progressive Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersCynthia Nixon: 'Sometimes a little naiveté is exactly what is needed' George Clooney writes Parkland students: 'You make me proud of my country again' Lesson from special election: Run on Social Security, Medicare and lower drug prices MORE (I-Vt.), whose 2016 presidential campaign was buoyed by support from younger voters. Sanders, speaking through a megaphone, thanked the students for their protest and declared that student protesters were "leading the nation" in the conversation on gun violence.

"All across this country, people are sick and tired of gun violence, and the time is now for all of us together to stand up," Sanders said.

Similar crowds of students clustered around Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren battles Carson: Housing discrimination 'the scandal that should get you fired' Overnight Regulation: Omnibus includes deal on tip-pooling rule | Groups sue over rules for organic livestock | AT&T, DOJ make opening arguments in merger trial Warren presses Mulvaney, Azar on tip pooling MORE (D-Mass.), who posted photos on Twitter of eager students looking for a selfie.

"These kids are leading the charge against gun violence — and I’m proud to be here fighting alongside them," Warren wrote on Twitter.

The protest from student activists and Democrats comes exactly one month after 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The suspected gunman was allegedly armed with an AR-15 rifle.

The White House announced its own plan to reduce gun violence on Sunday, but it backs away from two proposals President TrumpDonald John TrumpScarborough mocks 'Deflection Don' over transgender troop ban Pelosi condemns Trump's 'cowardly, disgusting' ban on transgender troops Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military MORE had previously indicated he'd support: Universal background checks and raising the age requirement for rifle purchases.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the administration from reporters who questioned whether Trump had "chickened out" in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“He hasn't backed away from these things at all,” Sanders said at a press briefing. “He can’t make them happen with a broad stroke of the pen. You have to have some congressional component to do some of these things, and without that support, it's not as possible.”