Federal lawmakers are pledging to investigate how law enforcement handled Wednesday’s breach at the Capitol, when a throng of President Trump’s supporters swarmed into the building and ran amok for hours.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said the breach of the Capitol “raises grave security concerns.” She said her committee will work with other House and Senate lawmakers to evaluate not only the U.S. Capitol Police response but its preparedness.
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), a former Orlando police chief who was on the short list to become President-elect Joe Biden’s running mate, said it was “painfully obvious” that Capitol Police “were not prepared for today.”
“I certainly thought that we would have had a stronger show of force, that there would have been steps taken in the very beginning to make sure that there was a designated area for the protesters in a safe distance from the Capitol,” she said in an interview on MSNBC Wednesday. Demings added that the Capitol Police “did not seem” as if they had “a clear operational plan to really deal with” the mass of protesters.
Demings said there were “a lot of unanswered questions and I’m damn determined to get answers to those questions about what went wrong today.″
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) went further, saying heads should roll.
“I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment both on behalf of the mob, and the president, and the insurrection, and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur,” Ryan said, according to The Associated Press.
And Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) said she was shocked to see a Capitol Police officer posing for a selfie with a protester. “Would you take a selfie with someone who was robbing a bank?” she asked. “I can’t imagine if a couple of thousand of [Black Lives Matters] protesters had descended on the Capitol … that there would be 13 people arrested.”
Capitol Police taking selfies with those "dangerous" protestors. pic.twitter.com/eAKbdhmira
— Don Purser 🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@DGPurser) January 7, 2021
On the Senate side, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) called on the Capitol Police to conduct an internal review to identify and correct any problems the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
“I think the Capitol Police will and should really do a quick review here of what went wrong and what they need to do to be sure nothing like that could happen again,” Blunt said. “It will be interesting to see what they determine either both through their intelligence information, or just a failure to really realize the threat potential.”
Blunt added: “You want to take one more really hard look at what you thought your crowd security concerns might be for.”
Just an hour before the siege of the Capitol, Trump delivered a fiery speech to thousands of supporters gathered on the National Mall. Claiming that the “emboldened radical left Democrats” and the media have conspired against him, Trump declared, “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede. Our country is had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about.”
Trump said he lost the 2020 election because of an “explosion of bulls***.” The crowd responded by chanting, “Bulls***!”
Trump’s legal team alleges that the election was tainted by widespread voting irregularities and fraud but have been unable to prove their claims in court. Election officials in key states and the Justice Department have said they have not found evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the results of the election.
Trump vowed to go with his supporters to the Capitol, but didn’t, though he encouraged them to “fight like hell” for the country. “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said. “Let the weak ones get out,” he went on. “This is a time for strength.”