WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said lawmakers would not be intimidated as she reconvened the House of Representatives after a day of violence rocked the US Capitol and left one woman dead.
“Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It cannot however deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Pelosi said on Wednesday evening.
“For that reason, Congress has returned to the Capitol. We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night and we’ll stay as long as it takes,” she went on.
Lawmakers gathered Wednesday for a joint session of Congress — overseen by Vice President Mike Pence — to vote on Biden’s Electoral College victory.
But the debate was interrupted around 1.30 p.m. when a mob of pro-Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Hill police and stormed the building as frightened lawmakers barricaded themselves in the two chambers.
Violence engulfed the building for hours as rioters clashed with police, vandalized lawmakers’ offices, and tried to gain access to the Senate and House chambers — leading to a tense armed standoff with Capitol cops.
In his own remarks, GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) disavowed the insurgence and extended a rare olive branch to Pelosi.
“Where do we go from here? The violent destruction and chaos, we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic and un-American,” he said.
“The majority leader is right, we are all Americans first,” he said, adding, “We all should stand united condemning the mob together.”
McCarthy noted the fact that Democrats were beginning the 117th Congress with a razor-thin majority but said the two political parties could work together.
“When Americans go to bed tonight, your lasting memory should not be a congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress conducting healthy debate,” he said.
“Let’s show the country the mob did not win. We have a job to do. Let’s be better.”
An unbowed Vice President Mike Pence also declared “Let’s get back to work” as the Senate reconvened to certify Joe Biden’s election win on Wednesday evening.
Tens of thousands of the president’s supporters flocked to Washington on Wednesday to hear Trump speak at a rally outside the White House where he delivered a fiery speech in which he claimed the election had been stolen from him.