Mob takeover ‘surreal,’ says Trone
Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Brandon Glass
CUMBERLAND — Wednesday’s siege of the U.S. Capitol was every bit as surreal and disconcerting in person as it was on social media, television or radio, U.S. Rep. David Trone said Thursday.
“It was a lot of anxiety, it was a very uncomfortable feeling and pretty unbelievable to have that level of violence invading the nation’s Capitol. One person was shot, literally killed, right outside the door of the House of Representatives,” said Trone (D-Md.).
The representative said he was on the House floor during the debate over whether to accept Arizona’s electoral votes when Capitol Police interrupted to announce rioters had reached the first floor of the building. The doors to the hall were locked and guards were stationed at each door.
Not deterred, the debate started up again and continued for another 15 or so minutes, said Trone, before Capitol Police again interrupted to inform those gathered in the chamber that rioters had reached the rotunda.
“At that point, they suggested we get out the gas masks,” Trone said.
The masks are placed two to a box under every other seat, Trone said. They were brought out and debate continued for another few minutes. It stopped when the mob started banging on the doors to the chamber.
“Capitol Police had instructed us to — one, put the gas masks on; two, get low in the building or on the floor in case there were gunshots,” said Trone. “Then they began evacuation of the chamber out a side door — elevators, through the tunnels to another location.”
In the aftermath on Thursday, the blame game began. Questions regarding who bears responsibility for the security breach spread through Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called for the resignation of Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving resigned Thursday and it was also announced that Sund would resign, effective Jan. 16.
“I’m a big supporter of police,” Trone said. “In general, I think they have a tough job to do, (and are) overworked and underpaid. I thought the Capitol Police did a good job of defending us and giving us clear, concise directions,” said Trone.
“The mistake was the leadership. I think they were ill-prepared, to say the least; that’s where the fault laid, not with the rank-and-file policemen who really were in harm’s way. You have to thank them for their sacrifices.”