U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) was among about 100 members of Congress rushed to a secure location Wednesday afternoon as a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Trone, speaking to Bethesda Beat around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday from the undisclosed location, said U.S. Capitol police evacuated the House chamber during a session on the Electoral College vote count.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to be certified in the coming days after having won the Nov. 3 election.
“I was on the House floor watching the debate as we went back and forth accepting the Electoral College results,” said Trone, who lives in Potomac and represents Maryland’s 6th District. “And when the Capitol police came into the House floor and said there had been a breach on the first floor of the Capitol, then they locked the doors and stood guard.”
Trone said the debate continued for 15 minutes before police interrupted a second time to alert everyone that there had been a breach in the rotunda, just down the hall.
“At that point, they instructed us to go under our chairs,” he said. “Under every other chair, there had been a set of gas masks, and we were asked to take the gas masks out and open them up. And we were ready to put them on if necessary.”
The members then tried again to resume debate, but it didn’t last, Trone said.
“There was pounding on the doors in the chamber, and at that point, [officers] said we should the gas masks on, and [we] began to exit immediately through a side door out of the chamber,” he said.
“The thinking was that if we were breached heavily, they might need to gas the chamber itself.”
Trone posted a photo on Twitter while wearing the mask and evacuating the building. He said he and others were allowed to take off the masks once they got to the secure location.
I am safe. We have been evacuated.
Let me be clear: we will not be stopped by this lawless intimidation. pic.twitter.com/WWDJst4V1B
— Rep. David Trone (@RepDavidTrone) January 6, 2021
Trone said “protesting is a constitutional right,” but it “has to respect the rights of others.”
He emphasized that despite dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits by President Donald Trump and his supporters attempting to overturn the results of the election, the outcome is not in doubt.
“All we were doing was a ministerial duty to accept the ballots, and then that ends the process of President[-elect] Biden being elected president of the United States. So, there was nothing we were doing today or will do in the next couple of days that will change the outcome,” Trone said.
Trone said during his interview that he had been in the secure location for about two hours. He hopes Congress will resume its business Thursday and finalize the certification process.
“The voting’s been done. Certified. Finished. Litigated. This is nothing but accepting the ballots from the 50 states,” he said.
Asked if he plans to attend Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Trone said, “Absolutely. It’s the right thing to do. We can’t be intimidated by the hooligans, and we have to continue to build on the democracy that’s stood here for 200 years.”
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org