National Guard Arrives on Scene at the U.S. Capitol After a Day of Chaos
The National Guard arrived at the Capitol Wednesday evening after pro-Trump rioters stormed the building as lawmakers were gathered to certify the election results.
Part of the first wave, the D.C. national guardsmen arrived wearing protective gear and carrying riot equipment, a senior Defense official previously told CNN, but they were not equipped with any lethal or non-lethal weapons.
Before the National Guard was mobilized and arrived, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted, "At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services."
"We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful," she added.
The Army mobilized all 1,100 members of the District of Columbia National Guard before they were deployed to the Capitol and other surrounding parts of D.C., according to the New York Times. In addition to the D.C. National Guard, members of the Maryland and Virginia Guard were also mobilized.
In addition to the National Guard, the Virginia State police arrived earlier in the afternoon.
Photos and videos from the Capitol showed thousands of rioters breaching the building and entering the Senate chamber and Congressional offices, rifling through lawmakers' desks and roaming around. Many waves Trump flags and carried weapons.
Lawmakers were forced to evacuate and placed in lockdown, interrupting the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win. The rioters gathering to show their support of Trump and his unfounded claims that the election results were fraudulent.
Before the National Guard arrived, C-SPAN showed footage of tear gas being deployed inside the Capitol and widely circulated images showed an armed standoff between a rioter and law enforcement.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a 6 p.m. curfew as the chaos began to unfold.
Though Trump sent out a tweet asking for people at the Capitol to "remain peaceful," he did not explicitly call for the rioters to stop.
In a speech, Biden called for Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and condemned the violence.
"I call in this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward," Biden said. "You heard me say before in a different context: the words of a president matter. No matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, it can incite. Therefore, I call on president Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand and then to this siege."
Shortly after Biden's speech, Trump tweeted a pre-recorded speech in which he continued his claim that the election had been "stolen" before saying "we love you" to the rioters and that they were "very special" as he finally advocated for them to "go home."(The video has been removed or restricted from social channels including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, due to "risk of violence.")