Lawmakers told not to enter, exit amid Electoral College vote debate.
A lawmaker from Indiana was forced to defend his decision not to object to the certification of the 2020 presidential vote on Wednesday, as protesters swarmed the Capitol.
Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said that compared with the law, individual opinions about the election outcome "don’t matter."
"I value your opinion, I actually share your concerns," Young said to a crowd. "The law matters, I took an oath under God – under God – I took an oath. Do we still take that seriously in this country?"
Young reportedly spoke to a group of Trump supporters from his home state whom he had previously agreed to meet.
Vice President Mike Pence was expected to officially certify the results Wednesday, while President Trump continued to baselessly claim that he rightfully won the 2020 presidential election. His campaign filed multiple failed lawsuits across several key swing states, and he recently came under fire for appearing to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state to "find" enough votes to overturn the state’s results.
Lawmakers met to carry out the certification process, before it was halted over protests.
Trump slammed Pence in a tweet, saying he did not have the "courage" to do what needed to be done to protect the country and Constitution.
Besides Young, many other Republicans spoke out against protesters, including Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who said on Twitter that the U.S. is a "nation of laws," characterizing Wednesday’s events as violent and unacceptable.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., acknowledged people’s right to protest, but urged attendees to remain "peaceful."
On Wednesday afternoon, protesters broke into the Capitol as the situation escalated.
McCarthy confirmed to Fox News that shots had been fired in the Capitol building, though further details were not readily available.
Trump on Twitter urged Americans involved to respect the police, who were attempting to deescalate the situation.
He also asked those involved to remain peaceful, reiterating that Republicans represented law and order.