HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - President Donald Trump and local leaders are responding to the unrest in Washington, D.C. as Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
Members of Congress were meeting in a joint session in a Constitutionally-mandated process to tally the Electoral College votes and formally select President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election. Both chambers abruptly went to recess as the protesters forced a lockdown at the Capitol.
Lauren Burke, a Washington D.C.-based journalist, said she watched blocks away from Capitol Hill the events unfolding. Burke spent years on Capitol Hill working as a staffer and reporter.
"What I'm seeing today is pretty shocking," Burke told News 3. "It's actually, literally, the halls that I've walked down. The places that I've been."
She was concerned about her boyfriend, a Capitol Police officer. She told News 3 he was inside near the Senate chamber at the time.
"He was basically saying it was a shocking scene. 'You're not going to believe what's going on here,'" she said. "I really fell into shock when we started to find out that the protesters had actually gone into the Senate chamber."
She also checked in on lawmakers she knows, including Hampton Roads Rep. Bobby Scott.
"My question to them has been, 'Are you safe? Are you alright?'" Burke said. "'Were you on the floor?' Thankfully, none of them were on the floor. They were in their office. They did get the notification to shelter in place."
For Burke, she's thankful her friends are okay.
"What we're seeing on TV is pretty shocking, no matter what your political background or anything else," she said. "If you know people who are in the building, it's pretty worrisome to say the least."
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a curfew for the city starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday.
The situation turned violent as someone was shot amid the chaos.
President Trump asked everyone involved to remain peaceful.
"No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order - respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue," the president tweeted.
Later Wednesday afternoon, the president released a video message in response to the situation. The video was later deleted from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and his official Twitter account was locked Wednesday night, but you can read the full transcription of what he said below:
I know your pain. I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anybody hurt. It's a very tough period of time. There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us - from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election. But we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you, you're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.
Other leaders who represent both Hampton Roads and Virginia and North Carolina as a whole also responded to the unrest. You can see what they had to say below:
Gov. Ralph Northam
“I have been working all afternoon and this evening with leaders in Washington D.C., the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Police, and others in the federal government.
The violence we saw at the U.S. Capitol today was nothing short of an armed insurrection and a humiliating assault on American democracy. The President incited this mob with his refusal to accept the lawful results of a fair and secure election. And the members of Congress who have enabled him—and continue to encourage and praise his efforts—bear just as much responsibility.
This did not come about overnight. When elected leaders purposefully reject facts and fan the flames of conspiracy theories, all in pursuit of power, they are taking dangerous steps. And now we are seeing where those steps can lead. God forbid we experience anything worse.
I continue to pray for the safety of every member of the House and Senate, all the staff, the journalists, everyone who works in the Capitol. And I commend the Virginia National Guard and Virginia State Police for quickly stepping up in this time of great need.
Let me be clear: Virginia will be there for as long as it takes to protect our nation’s capital and ensure the peaceful transition of power.”
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va., 2nd District)
I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside. Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots. (1/2)— Rep. Elaine Luria (@RepElaineLuria) January 6, 2021
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
Thanks for your concern — I am safe and sheltering in place with other senators. Please join me in praying for our country, and for our fellow Americans to do the right thing.— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 6, 2021
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va., 1st District)
This is absolutely unacceptable. This is not how we conduct the Nation's business. Please allow us to get the work of the people completed.— Rep. Rob Wittman (@RobWittman) January 6, 2021
Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va., 4th District)
I'm safe. Evil always raises hell before it is cast out. We will pass this test. Democracy will prevail.— Rep. Donald McEachin (@RepMcEachin) January 6, 2021
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D)
The peaceful transition of power is the hallmark of our democracy. Today's terrorism is not who we are. This attack on our country must be overcome. America is better than this. - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) January 6, 2021
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
Not since the Burning of Washington by the British during the War of 1812 has the Capitol been attacked. The violence we saw today was an anti-American, anti-democratic assault on our nation. All must condemn it in the strongest of terms.— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) January 6, 2021
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va., 3rd District)
My staff and I are safe.— Rep. Bobby Scott (@BobbyScott) January 6, 2021
This story will continue to be updated as more local politicians respond to the ongoing situation.