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Ohio's Congressional Delegation In Lockdown As Extremists Overtake U.S. Capitol

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, prepares to evacuate the floor as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, prepares to evacuate the floor as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Members of Ohio’s congressional delegation are scattered across the U.S. Capitol campus as pro-Trump extremists storm the Capitol building and surrounding offices, including the House and Senate chambers.

Many members and staff are able to communicate only through Twitter and other social media as the Capitol complex is locked down and they shelter in place.

"This disruption to the orderly functioning of our government is inexcusable," Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) said in a video statement. It's unacceptable that these individuals were able to get this close to the Capitol."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) tweeted at 3:21 p.m. that he and his staff were safe and called for an end to the violence. "The lives of countless workers – journalists, staff, and Capitol Police are being put at risk by this attack on our democracy," Brown wrote.

Public calls to end the protests that quickly turned violent came from members of both parties, including from Rep. Jim Jordan, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. Jordan was among the Republicans who planned to challenge the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. "Stop the violence," Jordan tweeted around 3 p.m.. "Support Capitol Police."

Jordan issued a followup tweet almost three hours later: "Americans support peaceful protests, First Amendment activity, and the men and women of law enforcement. What happened today is wrong and is not what America is about."

Republican Rep. Troy Balderson, who did not support the effort to stop the certification, urged Trump to speak out.

"These behaviors are deeply un-American and threaten the very foundation of our Republican," Balderson wrote in a statement. "Central to our beliefs as Americans are compromise and honor. The egregious display at the Capitol today t hreatened these core values and in addition put the safety of thousands at risk."

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, directly blamed the president for what transpired on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, when the U.S. Senate was supposed to be accepting the votes of the Electoral College but instead was evacuated from the chamber as protests outside escalated.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman also decried the violence from the pro-Trump extremists, calling on the presidenton Twitterto “condemn this unacceptable vandalism and violence.” Portman said he would not support the efforts to block the Electoral College results.

Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who in December was appointed to Biden's Cabinet, called the situation “a sad day in the history of this great nation’s democracy” in a statement released around 3:30 p.m.

“This is a day that will live in infamy. The very people who believe they are protecting our country have succeeded in destroying it,” Fudge said.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan was reportedly “sheltering in place” on Capitol grounds, tweeting a call for prayers and confirming at 3:08 p.m. he was safe. "This is not ok," Ryan said. "We are a nation of laws."

Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez also asked for prayer and a swift end to the violence on Capitol Hill in a statement from Chief of Staff Tim Lolli.

“Congressman Gonzalez is safe and is following guidance provided by [U.S. Capitol Police],” according to the statement. “He encourages everyone to pray for the health and safety of our country in this extraordinarily difficult time. He unequivocally condemns all violent protestors.”

In a statement around 4:20 p.m., a spokesperson for Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs confirmed the congressman’s safety and condemned the actions of the protesters.

“These violent and illegal actions must be met with swift justice,” the statement from Gibbs’ office said. “He is urging everyone not engaged in violence to leave the Capitol area and let law enforcement do their job. This is shameful and un-American.”

Shortly after Trump addressed the nation and the protesters in a brief, recorded statement, asking them to “go home now” while repeating his false claims of election fraud, Republican Rep. Dave Joyce addressed the president directly, saying the statement was “not enough” and calling the protesters at the Capitol Building “criminals.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called the insurrection on Capitol Hill “an embarrassment to our country” and “an affront to our Constitution” in a 4 p.m. emailed statement.

“This must stop immediately,” said DeWine, himself a Republican former senator and member of the U.S. House. “The stopping of the count of the Electoral College votes has occurred because the security of the U.S. Capitol has been breached by a violent mob. As a nation of laws, this is simply not acceptable. Lawlessness is not acceptable.”

"Peaceful demonstrations outside the Capitol are within the First Amendment rights of all Americans, DeWine added, but “stopping the constitutional process by which we elect the president is not.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.