Utah’s elected leaders speak out after Pro-Trump protesters storm U.S. Capitol

A crowd of about 200 people also gathered at the Utah State Capitol; that protest is non-violent as of 3 p.m. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021 (UPI & Gephardt Daily)  — Utah’s elected leaders are speaking out after the U.S. Capitol went into lockdown Wednesday when scores of President Donald Trump’s supporters breached police barricades and stormed into the building.

One person was shot while five others were taken to the hospital, according to multiple news reports. The person that was shot has died, law enforcement sources said just before 4 p.m.

The breach took place shortly after thousands of demonstrators gathered on and around the National Mall to hear remarks by Trump, who falsely claimed he won November’s presidential election “in a landslide.”

After his speech, some protesters clashed with police, breaking through a police line, forcing their way to the Capitol, where members of Congress debated certification of the Electoral College results.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee tweeted at 1:44 p.m.: “The violence at the United States Capitol is completely unacceptable. It is time for the protesters to disperse. My staff and I are safe. We are working to finish our constitutional duty to finish counting votes today. God bless the Capitol Police keeping us all safe.”

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes also issued the following statement: “I condemn, in the strongest terms, the acts of violence at our nation’s Capital Building today. I pray for the safety of law enforcement working to keep order, for legislators of all parties as well as other civilians who are protesting peacefully. There is no place for violence in our political discourse, even over the most serious issues and disagreements. We are a nation of laws. This is not how Conservatives and Republicans behave. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

Rep. Burgess Owens tweeted at 1:24 p.m.: “My team and I are safe and beyond grateful for the service of Capitol Police. I am deeply saddened by what is happening right now. Americans are better than this. Senseless violence is NEVER okay. We have to do better.”

Rep. Chris Stewart tweeted at 1:42 p.m.: “Protesters who are breaking windows, threatening violence, and accosting police are behaving inexcusably. It is un-American. This must stop now!”

Rep. John Curtis tweeted at 2:03 p.m.: “The United States Capitol is the Temple of Liberty and should be treated with respect and honor. The riots both in and outside the building are unacceptable and un-American. The President owes it to the American people to publicly call for an end to these riots. If this were in any other country, we would be condemning these actions and calling for their leaders to stop the violence. Those protesting say they are doing so in the best interest of America — but if that were true, they would end their assault on this sacred institution.”

A crowd of about 200 people also gathered at the Utah State Capitol; that protest is non-violent as of 3 p.m.

Utah Highway Patrol tweeted at 2:50 p.m.: “Please help us in getting ahead of inaccurate information regarding the State Capitol. The was NO MANDATORY EVACUATION of employees or elected leaders from the Capitol. An early work release was offered at 2 p.m., and many took advantage of that. Thank you.”

In a one-minute video posted Wednesday afternoon on Twitter, Trump urged the swarms of his supporters rioting in and around the U.S. Capitol to “go home now,” while continuing to falsely insist that his re-election was “stolen.”

The president began by sympathizing with the rioters.

“I know your pain, I know you’re hurt,” Trump said in the video. “We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”

He added: “But you have to go home now, we have to have peace. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order.”

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6 p.m. on Wednesday until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

CNN showed hundreds of protesters making their way inside the Capitol in Washington, D.C., walking through Statuary Hall. Congress, which had split into separate sessions to debate an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes, was forced to go into recess due to the violence outside.

The Washington Post reported two nearby buildings — the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building and the Cannon House Office Building — were evacuated briefly.

Trump spoke earlier during a protest rally at the Ellipse on the National Mall — dubbed the “March for Trump/Save America” rally — organized by supporters who back his unsubstantiated claims that the election was “rigged” against him.

As he opened his remarks, Trump slammed the “fake news media” for not showing what he called the “hundreds of thousands” of people at the event, saying, “the media is the biggest problem we have, as far as I’m concerned.”

The U.S. Park police told NPR that permits for the rally had been approved and amended by its organizers to increase the capacity from 5,000 to 30,000 people.

The crowd roared its approval as Trump went on to claim he will never concede his loss to Biden because “you don’t concede when there’s theft involved. We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election.”

He also condemned what he called “weak Republicans” who have not backed his attempts to overturn the results of the election.

“Now it’s amazing,” he said, “the weak Republicans, the pathetic Republicans, and that’s what happens.”

D.C. police said they made at least six arrests during the first day of protests Tuesday, including several that were weapons-related. Charges included illegally carrying firearms and possession of unregistered ammunition.

After Tuesday’s official events ended, protesters stayed on the streets until late into the night. Social media videos showed some clashing with police — authorities said several protesters were charged with assaulting a police officer and simple assault.

Trump on Tuesday praised the protesters in a series of tweets, repeating unfounded claims that the presidential election had been “stolen” from him.

“Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats. Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump wrote.

He also falsely claimed on Twitter that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to “reject fraudulently chosen electors.”

The National Guard has been mobilized, and every police officer in the District of Columbia was put on duty to handle the protests.

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