News and Commentary

‘I Just Saw Courage Personified’: GOP Reps Praised For Defending Capitol
Capitol Riots
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

According to Texas GOP Congressman Pat Fallon, while the rest of Congress was being evacuated to safety during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, four freshman Republican Texas Congressmen remained behind along with two others from Colorado and Oklahoma to aid police and secure the barricades to the House floor.

Fallon wrote on Facebook in the midst of the turmoil:


We were in the middle of debate when the Capitol Police came into the chamber and told us there had been a breach in the Capitol Building. At first they wanted us to remain in our seats in the House Chamber. The breach must have gotten worse because they started to evacuate. Then the mob literally reached the doors of the House Chamber and the Police were short handed and I AM SO PROUD that Rep Tony Gonzalez, Rep Ronny Jackson, Rep Troy Nehls didn’t hesitate!!! We augmented the Police and stood our ground! We will never be intimated by any mob, regardless of their motivations.

The mob reached the actual doors to the House Chamber and there was visible concern on everyone’s faces and yet we stood our ground. Tony Gonzalez and Troy Nehls were literally on the front lines with myself and Admiral Jackson directly behind them and beside Rep Mark Wayne Mullin (who promised he’d be the last person to leave-standing guard while other members, both Democrats & Republicans were being evacuated to safety) and Ken Buck from CO was there as well. We broke off furniture to make clubs to defend the US House of Representatives.

Ronny looked over at me and declared, “I’m not going anywhere!” Tony and Troy looked back and nodded reassuringly. I remembered what Tim Grunhard (a center at Notre Dame) would say before a big game at home in South Bend. So I repeated it, “This IS OUR House! And we’re gonna protect it!!!” No one flinched. No one!!!

I serve with heroes. My Texas GOP colleagues have been my friends and now they are my heroes!!!

We then helped the police barricade the set of doors we were guarding with a large piece of furniture and we had stepped to the side to place it there and that’s when the small pieces of glass went flying. “SHOTS FIRED!” Someone screamed. “Rounds fired, rounds fired!!” Shouted another. Those rounds, if that’s what caused that broken glass would have struck us just seconds before.

At the same time, Nehls wrote on Facebook:

What I’m witnessing inside the US Capitol is disgusting. Violent extremists stormed the Capitol and were breaching doors and breaking glass in the entrance to the House floor. Shots were fired. It came to the point Capitol Police had weapons drawn and we had to barricade the doors shut. I stood at the door shoulder to shoulder with Capitol Police attempting to calm the protestors talking to them through the glass. This is America, the greatest country in the world. We are better than this. We can disagree and protest but violence is NEVER the answer and must be condemned in the strongest terms.

Gonzales added: “Police are doing everything they can to deescalate this situation and keep people safe. I served our country because this does not happen here – it happens in war zones. America is resilient. We will overcome this divide. Violent protestors are NOT patriots.”

On Thursday, Mullin, appearing on “Good Morning America,” recalled:

At that time, they were trying to come through the front door, which is where I was at in the chamber, and in the back they were trying to come through the speaker’s lobby, and that’s problematic when you’re trying to defend two fronts. Anybody will understand that. You’ve got to secure the perimeter. And in the front there hadn’t been a breach yet, even though they were trying. That’s what we originally thought. Guns. Shots were fired … broke the glass. When they broke the glass in the back, the lieutenant that was there — him and I already had multiple conversations prior to this — and he didn’t have a choice at the time.

The mob was going to come through the door, and there was a lot of members and staff that were in danger at the time. And when he drew his weapon, that’s a decision that’s very hard for anyone to make and, once you draw your weapon like that, you have to defend yourself with deadly force. A part of you leaves that day too. The first time that happens, you never forget it. And unfortunately two people’s lives changed: that young lady’s family’s lives changed and his life also changed. But what also happened is that mob that was trying to go through that door, they left. His actions may be judged in a lot of different ways going forward, but his actions, I believe, saved people’s lives even more. Unfortunately, it did take one, though.

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