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Virginia lawmakers react to U.S. Capitol riot: ‘Democracy will prevail’

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Posted at 11:58 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 23:58:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Local politicians were among the lawmakers in Congress forced to evacuate after pro-President Donald Trump supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-4th District) was sitting inside the House chambers before the chaos.

“Obviously I knew there were protesters on the ground, but I did not know it had reached the level we needed to evacuate,” McEachin told CBS 6 by phone in an undisclosed location.

Capitol Police ordered the Congress members to evacuate as rioters stormed into the Capitol Building.

“The Capitol is meant to be a place where people can watch democracy. I think security should’ve been tighter given the circumstances that lead up to today,” McEachin explained. "Evil is about to be tossed out. Democracy will prevail."

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th District) said members who were in the House chamber became aware that the violent mob outside was growing louder. Suddenly there was the sound of breaking glass in the chamber doors as protesters tried to break in.

“Make no mistake — the extremists we saw today are domestic terrorists. They are using violence to thwart our democracy and the will of the people,” Spanberger tweeted after the riot.

Virginia State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) spoke to the protesters at 10 a.m. Wednesday prior to Trump taking the stage. She said she left during Trump’s speech when her security detail received intel of possible violence.

“I didn’t see anything to the likes of what was going on with the storming of the Capitol until well until most of us have left. I dont’ know whats that is about. I guess we will find out when an investigation is done,” Chase stated.

Chase insisted that her supporters should protest peacefully.

“I condemn anyone who comes here to perpetrate violence,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Hanover).

Wittman was one of more than 100 House Republicans who planned to object to the certification of electors in certain states, even though dozens of lawsuits regarding alleged voter fraud have been tossed out by courts across the country.

Wittman said his objection is based on a deluge of constituent complaints about the election and said his objection was aimed at least debating the claims in public.

"Yes, I was one of the ones that said I want to make sure we have the debate because there is such concern out there. There are literally thousands of people who have contacted us and said they’re concerned about the election as they see it,” Whitman said. “But having that debate or being in favor of that debate is not in any way shape or form being in favor of having the situations that we saw on Capitol Hill today.”

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, tweeted that the violence in D.C. laid bare the need for new leadership in the White House.

Prior to the incident at the U.S. Capitol, McAuliffe said President Trump’s unproven claims of a stolen election led to the atmosphere of the day.

“That’s what’s happened since November 3rd!” McAullife said of investigations and court cases into election fraud. “They’ve looked and haven’t found one scintilla of evidence. It’s really sad, but Trump has people believing this.”