Neal census

U. S. Rep. Richard E. Neal said he is sheltering and is safe from harm after the storming of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon by pro-Trump protesters. 

U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, who represents Berkshire County in Congress, says he is safe amid the crisis unfolding at the Capitol, after pro-Trump protesters broke through barricades and entered the building. 

Today's events brought condemnations on Twitter from other area leaders, including state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, who once served with the United Nations in Iraq and wrote in a tweet, "When the leader of the country claims a threat & calls for action, this is what happens."

"I have watched firsthand as leaders in other countries try to change election results," Hinds said. "They undermine election experts & processes, invent threats & activate supporters to respond. Now here."

Neal said at 3:20 p.m. that he was on the grounds of the Capitol complex, tweeting: "We are following Capitol Police orders and are thankful that they are keeping us safe during this violence."

In a tweet earlier Wednesday, Neal said that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election, despite claims to the contrary by President Trump. He said that Wednesday's planned action in Congress to confirm the election's outcome, which was postponed by this afternoon's vandalism and violence, would be one of the most important in his political career. 

Late Tuesday, Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, noted not only that Biden beat Trump, but did so commandingly. 

The president-elect himself said the actions of rioters and protesters at the Capitol "borders on sedition, and it must end. Now."

The governor and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts issued tandem statements condemning what they termed the "chaos" at the Capitol. 

“I join with Americans from every corner of the country to condemn the violence unfolding at the Capitol, and President Trump and his supporters must do the same immediately,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in the statement. “The chaos now unfolding is the sad but predictable outcome of weeks of attacks, perpetrated by President Trump and his supporters against the democratic process that makes America the greatest nation on earth, and these baseless challenges to President-elect Biden’s victory must stop.”

 Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito called for Americans to come together.

“The horrific violence unfolding at the Capitol is an attack on our democracy and should be condemned without qualification by President Trump and his supporters,” she said. “It is time for all Americans to embrace a peaceful transition of power and move forward to heal our nation.”

Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, said in a tweet that the storming of the Capitol complex is tantamount to an attempted governmental takeover and called on President Trump to intervene. 

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, another member of Congress representing Central and Western Massachusetts, said he too had taken refuge for safety. Actions to overturn the election results, he said, would fail. 

"America's democracy will never be deterred. Not today. Not ever," McGovern wrote.

In other tweets earlier Wednesday, McGovern said he looked forward to confirming the November election results, as the crowd of pro-Trump protesters entered the storied building. “It’s a sad day for America. But my colleagues and I will not be intimated. We will defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, no matter what,” he wrote. “This is not a protest. It is a terrorist attack on our democracy.”

At one point, McGovern was presiding over proceedings in the House Chamber. “The doors to the chamber have been locked because protesters have breached security. We will not be intimidated,” McGovern wrote. "Today, grounded in our love of this country and our allegiance to the constitution, we will honor our oath. Upholding the peaceful transfer of power isn’t heroic. It’s our job."

This story will be updated as more information comes to light about events at the Capitol.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.