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Local Leaders React To Violence At U.S. Capitol

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the West wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the West wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

As members of Congress gathered at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to tally Electoral College votes to formally name Joe Biden as president of the United States, violent supporters of President Trump breached the building leading Capitol Police to lock it down. 

News of the lockdown broke around 2 p.m. ET. About an hour later, Trump tweeted "asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! We are the party of law and order - respect the law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!" 

He did not tell the the group to leave the premises.

Later, Vice President Mike Pence did

"The violence and destruction taking place at the U.S. Capitol must stop and it must stop now," he said. "Anyone involved must respect law enforcement officers and immediately leave the building." 

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden urged Trump to "step up" and go on TV and call for an end to the violent protestors. 

At 4:17 p.m., Trump issued a video statement telling his supports to "go home."

"We love you, you're very special ... I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace." 

Local leaders, some of whom were present at the Capitol, largely immediately responded to the chaos on social media. Northern Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie simply tweeted, "I'm safe." 

Ohio senior Senator Sherrod Brown, who also was in the building, tweeted that he and his staff are safe

"The lives of countless workers - journalists, staff, and Capitol Police are being put at risk by this attack on our democracy," he added. 

The violence at the Capitol needs to end now.

The lives of countless workers – journalists, staff, and Capitol Police are being put at risk by this attack on our democracy.— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) January 6, 2021

Ohio's junior Senator Rob Portman was also in the building and compared the group who entered the building to a "violent mob." 

"The right to protest peacefully is protected under the Constitution but the actions by violent mobs against our law enforcement and property at the @USCapitol building today are not," he wrote on Twitter. "@realdonaldtrump should condemn this unacceptable vandalism and violence."

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who in 2017 tended to the wounds of then-House Majority Whip Steve Scalise after he was shot during a practice for the GOP congressional baseball team, tweeted that "this violence must stop." 

"The criminals who have broken into the U.S. Capitol, injured law enforcement, and disrupted the constitutional process are not patriots. No matter what flag one is carrying, people violating the law need to be held accountable. I condemn these actions.

Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio's 8th District, who was one of several Republicans who had pledged to object to Wednesday's vote, thanked Capitol Police for their "dedicated service." 

"I want to thank the Capitol Police for its dedicated service and for keeping everyone - from members to staff - safe. I have every confidence that they will be able to handle this situation." 

Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot called it "unacceptable."

U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers said federal crimes were committed. "Anyone who traveled from the Southern District of Ohio with the intent to commit such crimes will be prosecuted in the Southern District of Ohio," he wrote

Gov. Mike DeWine said the situation is "an embarrassment to our county."

"This must stop immediately," he wrote. "The President should call for the demonstrators to leave our Capitol building. The final step in the constitutional process of electing our president has been disrupted." 

Andy Beshear of Kentucky said the day was "a tough day" for the country and called the perpetrators "domestic terrorists."

"This attempt at bullying all over the country to get what you want ... is not OK," he said.

Many local Cincinnati leaders weighed in as well, including Council Members Greg Landsman, a Democrat and Liz Keating, a Republican.

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Jennifer Merritt
Jennifer Merritt brings 15 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.