US Capitol

‘This is Madness': Illinois Officials React From US Capitol Amid Protest Chaos

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Illinois representatives at the U.S. Capitol for a joint session to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden reacted as they were ushered to various locations following a lockdown and evacuation as protesters breached the capitol building.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger called the events that unfolded Wednesday "madness."

One of several Illinois members of Congress to react to the chaos at Capitol Hill, Kinzinger said "anybody that calls themselves a Republican like myself should be very ashamed right now." 

Photos: Pro-Trump Supporters Breach the Capitol Building

"I don't know if this has ever happened in history," he told NBC News in a live interview. "This is disgusting, this is not how democracy and how politics works."

Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley, who was on the House floor and was evacuated, reported that he and his staff were "safe and following the directions of Capitol Police."

“This clear act of domestic terrorism may have succeeded in delaying President Elect-Biden’s certification, but there should be no doubt that he will indeed be President on January 20th," Quigley said.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly, also a Democrat, echoed those claims, posting on Facebook that she was "okay" but plans to "complete the job."

"It was scary," she wrote. "We are still going to complete the job when it is safe to go back to the chamber."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she "will not yield to those who seek to harm our democracy."

"I have spent my entire adult life defending our Constitution and people’s rights to peacefully demonstrate. I never thought I’d need to defend democracy from an attempted, violent overthrow in our own nation’s Capitol," she tweeted Wednesday.

Supporters of President Donald Trump protesting the election results broke into the Senate chamber Wednesday, activating a lockdown for the U.S. Capitol building and curfew for Washington, D.C.

Duckworth said she was on her way to the Senate floor when Capitol police turned her around.

"I am safe with a couple of my staff members," she told NBC News, adding that "these protesters will not stop me from carrying out my duty as laid out in the Constitution."

Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider reported he was "safe and secure."

“Today, from the House Chamber, I experienced the unthinkable for our democracy, as the Capitol was attacked by a radical mob who would deny a free and fair American election," Schneider said in a statement. “Tonight, my colleagues and I are prepared to return to the Capitol and continue the work to count the electoral votes, making Joe Biden our 46th President. Our Constitution still governs and we still stand by our oath to defend it.”

Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood called the storming of the Capitol an "insurrection."

“Today’s insurrection was a result of more than just years of inflammatory rhetoric, but elected leaders capitalizing on hate and anti-democratic anger,” she said. “There should be no historical sanctuary for those who ignited this fire.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks with NBC News about pro-Trump protesters breking into Congress.

Underwood said that she and her colleagues plan to fulfill their duties to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after the assault.

Duckworth, Quigley and Kinzinger placed blame on President Donald Trump, who urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s win. Several Republican lawmakers also backed those calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.

Trump, who for months has told supporters that any presidential election result other than him winning would be fraudulent, encouraged supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to “remain peaceful,” but he did not immediately call for them to disperse. He later tweeted a video urging supporters to "go home," but continued to repeat false claims about the election.

Thousands of Trump supporters descended upon Washington, D.C., and began rioting on Wednesday, forcibly breaching the Capitol building as the House and Senate met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

"He completely shirked his responsibility as president to keep the American people safe," Kinzinger said.

"As Donald Trump continues to lie about attacks on our democracy and fan the flames of debunked conspiracy theories, his supporters carrying Confederate flags are literally breaking into the U.S. Capitol to prevent elected representatives from casting their votes," Duckworth tweeted.

"Make no mistake: President Trump and his enablers are personally responsible for inciting this violence and he must immediately and unequivocally condemn it and urge his followers to stand down," Quigley said in his statement.

The National Guard and other federal agencies are being deployed to the U.S. Capitol, the White House said. One person was shot inside the U.S. Capitol by a member of law enforcement, according to two law enforcement agencies.

Members of Congress were given gas masks and Vice President Mike Pence was brought to a secure location as chaos descended on the nation's capital during what is typically a routine part of a peaceful transfer of power.

From Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he was "disgusted" to see the events play out.

"This violence is abhorrent and is nothing like what the founders envisioned for this nation," Pritzker wrote on Facebook. "The peaceful transition of power is a bedrock of our democracy. It is sacred and must be protected."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged all officials inside the building to stay safe.

"I am in disbelief with what is unfolding in D.C. right now," she tweeted. "President Trump and his enablers incited this violence. Shame on every elected official in Congress and elsewhere who fomented this anti-democratic insurrection by extremists. This is not democracy. This is a disgrace."

Illinois House Republic Leader Jim Durkin said the "actions do not represent our Republican party."

“The events unfolding at the United States Capitol today, and the inflammatory remarks by members of the Republican Party, are a disgrace to the core values and beliefs of our great nation," he said in a statement. "These actions do not represent our Republican party, and are against everything we stand for as Americans. I am sickened and deeply saddened by what I have witnessed today. Any public officials who condone these actions have no place in the Republican party or in our democracy.”

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