GOP Rep. Michael Waltz, a U.S. Army veteran, describes what happened inside the Capitol as rioters stormed in.
Waltz, a U.S. Army veteran, condemned the violent, pro-Trump protesters who interrupted the proceedings to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, stressing that they don’t represent "the busloads of great Americans and Trump supporters."
He noted on Thursday that he has served in places in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan where disputes are resolved through "fighting in the streets" and stressed "that's not how America operates."
Wednesday’s session quickly recessed as protesters violently clashed with police before storming the Capitol building, and Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the joint session, was rushed out of the building. All others were told to shelter in place and take cover.
Waltz, who was inside the House chamber when the chaos ensued, described what happened inside the Capitol as rioters stormed in.
"We were debating the constitutional issues with the vote in Arizona and we heard a ruckus outside," Waltz said. "Capitol policemen came in and said there’s been a breach."
Waltz said he smelled tear gas, and members of Congress started putting on gas masks that were available on the House floor for various types of emergencies.
He noted that other members "started breaking off legs of furniture" to "use as a weapon to defend ourselves" as they heard "thugs" banging and pushing on the doors.
"I heard what I think were the tear gas grenades going off and what sounded like gunfire," Waltz said, adding that "people were scared" and evacuated.
"I think we need an investigation overall on what happened to the Capitol Police, but the police that I saw were handling themselves professionally and kept us safe," Waltz added.
"And I just can't say enough about supporting our men and women in blue, supporting our law enforcement, and for those rioters who are rioting into the Capitol with back-the-blue flags, I think they need to rethink the hypocrisy there of what’s going on."
Waltz also told "Fox & Friends" on Thursday that he believes the Republican Party is now fractured.
"I think we’re still very much unified on the results and the policies, but we are fractured over the conduct," Waltz explained.
He stressed that GOP members of Congress must evaluate "how we’re going to make these fixes to our election system and move the country forward because now we have the Democrats in charge of all the levers of power, and that's not good for our vision of the country as we know it."