Colorado lawmakers describe chaotic situation at U.S. Capitol

Republicans who planned to object to electoral votes condemn violence

A protester holds a Trump flag inside the U.S. Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with police and forced their way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, members of Colorado’s congressional delegation provided some insight into their situation — and perspectives on the chaos — via social media.

What’s still unclear is whether dozens of Republican lawmakers, who include Colorado U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert, will proceed with plans to object to electoral votes certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.

The group intended to file a series of objections to Biden’s Electoral College votes from a handful of swing states, alleging fraud claims that have failed in lawsuits brought by Trump’s legal team.

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The House and Senate on Wednesday convened briefly to begin tallying votes, and the first objection was filed to Arizona’s 11 electoral votes. The two chambers began debate over that objection, raised by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and 60 colleagues, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), before the protesters approached the building and disrupted the proceedings.

Lamborn, whose district includes Colorado Springs, wrote on Twitter at 1:26 p.m. that he and his staff were safe.

“I strongly condemn those individuals that have chosen to incite violence and have put our law enforcement in harm’s way,” he said. “Today is supposed to be a day of constitutional debate, not violence. This is not who we are as Americans.”

Lamborn spokesperson Cassandra Sebastian later confirmed that the team was safe. Asked to describe the events of the day and respond to accusations from some Democrats that those objecting to the electoral votes played a role in inciting the violence, Sebastian said, “We have no further comment as of now.”

At 1:17 p.m., Rep. Lauren Boebert — the freshman GOP lawmaker representing Colorado’s 3rd District — wrote on her personal Twitter: “We were locked in the House Chambers.”

She added in a subsequent tweet: “The Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) has been removed from the chambers.”

About an hour later, Boebert thanked followers for checking in on her, saying she and her staff were “safe and in an undisclosed location,” in a tweet posted on her official account.

“I support peaceful protests and the rule of law, and denounce all acts of violence,” Boebert added. “I am grateful to the Capitol Police for their service. Thank you for keeping us safe.”

A spokesperson for Boebert did not immediately provide a response to accusations from some on the left that, by supporting Trump, she was indirectly complicit in the actions of protesters.

Rep. Ken Buck of Windsor, the leader of the Colorado Republican Party, condemned the violence.

“Every American has the right to peacefully protest,” he wrote on Twitter at 11:53 a.m. “But storming the US Capitol and attacking the brave men and women of the Capitol police force is wrong.”

In a subsequent statement posted by the Colorado GOP on Twitter at 2:17 p.m., Buck called the events of the day “disgusting and anti-American,” also thanking the U.S. Capitol Police for their service.

Unlike Boebert and Lamborn, Buck was among a group of Republican lawmakers who signed a letter saying they did not plan to object to the electoral votes granting Biden the presidency.

Still, Buck told Colorado Sun reporter Jesse Paul that he didn’t blame Trump “at all” for the events of the day. Trump at a rally had encouraged demonstrators to march on the Capitol. He then promised to march with them to the Capitol, but returned to the White House.

“I was a prosecutor for 25 years,” Buck said, according to a tweet from Paul. “When people do stupid things, the people that do those things are responsible. The president didn’t order anybody to do this.”

Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Boulder County resident, said at 1:45 p.m. that he had been safely evacuated.

“God bless the Capitol Police and law enforcement for their brave sacrifices,” he wrote. “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

“With our gas masks in hand, Rep. Scott Peters and I were briskly enroute from the Capitol to an undisclosed location,” U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, wrote on Twitter at 2:45 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Denver, wrote at 1:54 p.m. that he was “trapped in the House Chamber with a few members for a little while as protestors tried to ram down the doors. We didn’t know how we were gonna get out, but Capitol Police were able to clear a route and get us out. We’re all now being protected in a secure location.”

“This is what it has come to,” Crow had tweeted earlier with a picture of someone pointing a gun.

Democratic Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the remaining three members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, also wrote on Twitter that they were safe.

States Newsroom reporters Laura Olson and Ariana Figueroa contributed reporting.

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