State Congressional leaders address Wednesday’s Capitol riot

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders representing the Volunteer State shared their thoughts on protesters who breached security and caused chaos inside of the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

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“I’m very angry. What we saw on Wednesday by that mob was an assault on democracy,” said Congressman David Kustoff.

Kustoff says Wednesday’s riot inside the Capitol was unlike anything he’s ever seen. He says in the past, protests and open debates have been handled differently.

“We’ve always been able to have that debate in an open forum and come back together as a nation, but what happened Wednesday, it’s got no place in this country,” he said.

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn and Senator-elect Bill Hagerty issued the following statement on Thursday, saying:

“Yesterday was a shocking day of lawlessness. We watched in horror as rioters breached the security of both Houses of Congress and inflicted significant property damage upon those historical halls.

Our Republic will rise above the chaos that ensued yesterday in the Capitol. These violent assaults on our democratic processes threaten to unwind the fabric of this country. As Americans, we must unite in our commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law.

We are grateful for the heroic law enforcement officials who helped restore peace, allowing us to complete our work. Last night we reconvened with our Senate colleagues to fulfill our constitutional duty to certify the 2020 election results and prepare for a peaceful transition of power. On January 20th, we will prove to the world that America is still the shining city on the hill.”

Kustoff remembers some tense moments from being on the House floor Wednesday.

“We could hear noises from outside of the House Chamber, people apparently trying to get on the House Chamber. At that point, the Capitol Police executed an evacuation plan,” he said.

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Kustoff says he, along with other members of Congress, were taken to an undisclosed location. He says fear never crossed his mind.

The congressman emphasized he’s all for free debate, but for the last year he’s seen an increase in violent protests.

“All of us who are leaders need to do a good job and try to take the temperature down, not stifle on anybody’s right to free speech, but it can’t be violent,” Kustoff said.

Following Wednesday’s Capitol security breach, Kustoff has safely returned home to West Tennessee.

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