Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for officials to “swiftly bring justice” to the “criminals” who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol to disrupt Congress from certifying Joe Biden as president-elect.
“The storming of the U.S. Capitol today is unacceptable. Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable,” Pompeo said on Twitter.
“I have travelled to many countries and always support the right of every human being to protest peacefully for their beliefs and their causes,” he continued, “But violence, putting at risk the safety of others including those tasked with providing security for all of us, is intolerable both at home and abroad.
The U.S. Capitol was evacuated and locked down after protesters attending the “Stop the Steal” rally stormed the building, forcing their way through multiple layers of security to breach the federal offices.
“Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting,” Pompeo tweeted. “America is better than what we saw today at a place where I served as a member of Congress and saw firsthand democracy at its best.”
The chaos at the Capitol forced the joint session of Congress to recess, delaying the certification of the Electoral College votes until well into the night. Around 3 a.m., Vice President Mike Pence was able to officially declare Joe Biden the winner of 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
A number of top lawmakers said President Trump should immediately be removed from office, even calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by President Trump,” top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer tweeted. “This president must not hold office one day longer.”
“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment,” the senator continued, adding, “If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress much reconvene to impeach President Trump.”
On Thursday, President Trump released a video condemning the “heinous attack,” noting that the men and women who broke the law on Capitol Hill “will pay.”
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem,” President Trump said in a recorded video message from the White House. “I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is and must always be a nation of law and order.”
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said. “To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”