Ritchie Torres responds to Capitol Building storm of Trump supporters

Joint session to certify the 2020 election results, in Washington
A U.S. Capitol police officer shoots pepper spray at a protestor attempting to enter the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS

Newly sworn in south Bronx Congressman Ritchie Torres responded to the hundreds of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon as the House and Senate conducted the acceptance process for the electoral vote certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

The attack has brought a halt to that process as Capitol Police worked to both stop the flood of trespassers and protect the legislators. NBC News reports that the Offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser have requested the National Guard.

Trump had addressed thousands of his supporters earlier in the morning at a rally in Washington.

A short walk from the rally, hundreds of Trump supporters overturned barricades and clashed with police on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol where Congress was meeting, clambering onto the structures erected for Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 to unfurl Trump flags and gathering on the Capitol steps. Police used teargas and pepper spray on some of the protesters.

Trump, who has spent much of his time since the Nov. 3 election trying to overturn the results, falsely said he won as he spoke on an outdoor stage framing the White House, which Biden is due to move into in two weeks.

Crowds gathered at the so-called “Save America March” wore Trump-approved red baseball caps and cheered as Trump repeated the groundless conspiracy theories that have consumed his final days in office — a period in which coronavirus infections have surged throughout the United States as the pandemic worsens.

“You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said. “Our country has had enough and we will not take it any more.”

For more than an hour, he aired familiar grievances with the news media and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival from the 2016 election, and delighted the crowd by calling Democratic victories the product of what he called “explosions of bullshit.”

Congress was due to confirm Biden’s victory on Wednesday. Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans have promised a stonewalling effort that could stretch proceedings past midnight but was almost certain to fail.

With reporting by Robert Pozarycki & amNY News

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