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."
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. They undermine election experts & processes, invent threats & activate supporters to respond. Now here.— Adam Hinds (@adamghinds) January 6, 2021
"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."
I am currently in the Capitol complex sheltering in place. We are following Capitol Police orders and are thankful that they are keeping us safe during this violence.— Rep. Richard Neal (@RepRichardNeal) January 6, 2021
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.
During my time in Congress, I have voted on many significant topics. But today we take one of the most consequential votes to uphold the constitution and the 2020 election results in which @JoeBiden was unequivocally the winner. https://t.co/2IaMHiXWBH— Rep. Richard Neal (@RepRichardNeal) January 6, 2021
Late Tuesday, Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, noted not only that Biden beat Trump, but did so commandingly.
President-elect Biden received more votes than any presidential candidate in American history – and tomorrow, the Congress will certify his decisive victory. #AmericaHasSpoken.— Rep. Richard Neal (@RepRichardNeal) January 5, 2021
The president-elect himself said the actions of rioters and protesters at the Capitol "borders on sedition, and it must end. Now."
Let me be very clear: the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it's disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 6, 2021
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.
Let’s call this what it is: an attempted coup. This is on you, @realDonaldTrump. Tell your supporters to leave the Capitol NOW.Praying for the safety of Capitol staff, police, and reporters.— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) January 6, 2021
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.
I am safe in a secure location. When the situation is under control, we will resume proceedings on the House Floor. America's democracy will never be deterred. Not today. Not ever.— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) January 6, 2021
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.