WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump released a video message Wednesday afternoon urging demonstrators "to remain peaceful" after protesters occupied the Capitol complex as lawmakers were beginning to tally the electoral votes that will formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
"I know your pain, I know you're hurt, we had an election that was stolen from us," Trump begins the message. "But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order."
Trump urged supporters to “go home” but also kept up false attacks about the presidential election.
The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
He also went on to call the supporters “very special.” He also said, “we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Earlier Trump tweeted a request for people to stay "peaceful" as demonstrators breached the U.S. Capitol. "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay Peaceful."
Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence. The statement came as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.
Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid skirmishes.
The U.S. Capitol is on lockdown as demonstrators have gotten past law enforcement and breached the building. Lawmakers, staff and media told to shelter-in-place inside, as law enforcement uses tear gas and other tactics to remove protesters.
Hundreds of demonstrators initially stormed barricades outside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon, at the moment Congress was inside beginning a joint session to accept the Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s presidential election win. Their actions followed a live speech from President Donald Trump to his supporters.
As demonstrators continued to push their way toward the Capitol, law enforcement used flash bangs and tear gas to keep the crowd away from the building. Some were able to get inside, and forced the building to lockdown. Other demonstrators have encircled the building, banging on windows and doors.
However, the group was able to breach the building, and those inside tweeted they were told to shelter in place and get to an office. Several media outlets are reportings Vice President Mike Pence was taken to a secure location.