Mike Pence condemns Trump supporters who stormed US Capitol

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Vice President Pence is condemning the hoards of Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol Wednesday, which forced lawmakers to evacuate the Senate chamber and cease Electoral College certification proceedings.

“The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building,” the vice president wrote in the first of two tweets.

“Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the second tweet read.

The comments were the first from Pence since he was urgently rushed out of the Capitol as rioters stormed the complex.

In his capacity as vice president, Pence was presiding over proceedings to certify the Electoral College results, a process that was expected to see some chaos of it’s own with House and Senate Republicans objecting to the process.

Members of Congress were evacuated in gas masks on Wednesday afternoon after hundreds of the president’s supporters overpowered Capitol Police and breached the building.

The chaos included an armed standoff outside the House of Representatives’ chamber and at least one woman being shot.

The Electoral College went 306-232 for President-elect Biden, but Trump has alleged that widespread fraud tipped the results in must-win swing states. Courts have rejected those claims, and Trump has refused to concede.

The objection effort is not expected to be successful in overturning Biden’s victory and has largely been criticized as a litmus test for lawmakers’ support for Trump.

It is not clear when lawmakers will be permitted to reconvene to continue the process of certifying Biden’s win.

For his part, Trump initially tweeted two messages at first, urging protesters to “stay peaceful.”

It was shortly after that he released a one-minute-long video calling on his die-hard supporters to “go home in peace,” while still proclaiming without evidence that Biden’s electoral victory was “fraudulent.”

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, everyone knows that, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” the 45th commander-in-chief said, “We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.”

“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.”

Tens of thousands of supporters of the president had descended on Washington earlier Wednesday for a raucous rally where he delivered a fiery speech claiming the election had been stolen from him.

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