Trump tells supporters to be ‘peaceful’ after they storm Capitol
President Trump urged his supporters to “stay peaceful” while throngs of pro-Trump demonstrators flooded to the U.S. Capitol and breached the complex on Wednesday afternoon.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” Trump tweeted.
His message came after several lawmakers spoke out about the threats to the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police locked down the building earlier Wednesday as demonstrators surrounded House and Senate office buildings.
Trump has for days encouraged supporters to demonstrate in support of his efforts to overturn the election results on Jan. 6, the day that Congress meets to certify the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Republicans and former White House officials urged Trump to more forcefully condemn the violence following his tweet.
“The President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home,” tweeted Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff.
“Condemn this now, @realDonaldTrump- you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!” wrote former White House communications director Alyssa Farah.
Trump sent another tweet about 30 minutes later, again pleading with protesters at the U.S. Capitol to “remain peaceful” and avoid violence.
“No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” Trump wrote.
Protesters forced their way into the Capitol Wednesday afternoon. Vice President Pence, who was presiding over the Senate chamber, was removed after protesters entered the building. There were photographs of an armed standoff near the House chamber.
Pence in his own message later Wednesday more forcefully condemned the violence, saying those involved would be prosecuted.
“The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building,” Pence tweeted. “Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Protesters headed to Washington in order to contest the election results and support Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss.
Trump spoke to supporters earlier on the National Mall, repeating falsehoods about the election and encouraging them to head towards the Capitol. He also put pressure on Republicans to support his efforts to overturn the results.
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up, we will never concede,” Trump told supporters during his speech at the Ellipse. “You never concede when there is theft involved.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced Wednesday that she would impose a 6 p.m. curfew. The D.C. National Guard has also been activated in response.
Updated at 3:44 p.m.