Chaotic and disturbing scenes ensued on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, as the building was locked down when Trump supporters stormed it and halted the congressional vote to certify the presidential election results. Lawmakers were evacuated as rioters broke windows, an armed standoff occurred at the front door of the House floor, and one female protester was shot in a hallway and subsequently died.
Despite the unprecedented violence within the walls of the U.S. Congress, the process to certify the election results resumed late Wednesday evening after the building and grounds were secured.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., a Catholic lawmaker with a graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, spoke with the Register Wednesday evening via telephone from his office on Capitol Hill amid the lockdown. He said that the storming of the Capitol was “undermining the very principle of democracy itself” and “tearing at the fabric of who we are as a nation.”
Fortenberry lamented the tribalism in politics that has led people to view violence as a solution and urged the Church to end its “passivity” in the face of cultural decline.
What was your experience today at the Capitol?
My experience is different than others because I was actually in my office. For certain reasons, I had to be in my office, so I was watching the proceedings by television and then began to hear explosions outside the window. I’m in my office building on the south side of the Capitol, and it was clear that those were from some type of blast. I got a notice that the Capitol Police were detonating suspicious packages. I am on the south side further away from all of this, so I was not trapped in the Capitol itself.
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