"This is the tabernacle of our democracy. To see a mob break through, break windows, shooting their way into the building, it really leaves one so shaken," she said.
Protesters against the election of Joe Biden as president entered the Capitol on Wednesday morning as both houses of Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes. Trump had spoken to his followers earlier in the day at a rally and told them to march to the Capitol to protest the election results, which he has claimed, contrary to all evidence, are fraudulent.
Eshoo said she was walking from her office through a tunnel to the House chamber when the mob breached the building. She was headed to the gallery to observe the proceedings, as only those who were speakers were allowed on the floor due to COVID-19 protocols.
Capitol police came running toward her. "They said, 'Turn around! Turn around! Go back! Go back!'" she said. "This was a determined, vicious crowd driven by and embracing the lies of the president."
She had not been allowed to return to her office, she said. Eshoo's whereabouts were not being revealed for safety reasons, the congresswoman's spokesperson Katy Nystrom said from Washington, D.C., but she and her staff were safe.
When she came to work Wednesday morning, Eshoo said she thought the security seemed "totally inadequate." There didn't seem to be more officers in place than on any other day, she said.
"When I looked at the plaza, I didn't have a good feeling," she said.
Congress was expected to return to its proceedings to certify the results of the presidential election, after The Almanac's Wednesday afternoon press deadline.
Eshoo said Wednesday that she was still waiting for her Republican colleagues to condemn the actions of the president or his followers.
"They certainly don't seem to have very much to say," she said.
She had strong words for the president.
"Demonstrators have a Constitutional right to protest," she said. But "he urged them to do more than that. He did damage to not just a building and its room. This is where the representatives of the people speak on their behalf. This is not a window broken in the basement of public works," she said.
This started with the president "inciting people. He incited them," she said.
Asked what actions she thinks should be taken against Trump, she said, "I would impeach him. I would impeach him in the next 24 hours. He should not be president. He's brought our country, he's brought our democracy to its knees. ... Beyond his party registration, I think he's a sick, broken individual."
Speier tweeted updates to her followers Wednesday afternoon, offering the news that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been escorted out. "The Capitol has been breeched. We are in lock down. Thank you, POTUS!" she wrote, followed a couple of hours later by, "We are in a safe place. I will have lots more to say about this. We are not a 3rd world country but you couldn't tell that today."
Gov. Gavin Newsom said what was being witnessed in the U.S. Capitol was reprehensible, and "an outright assault to our democratic institutions."
"The people of California have spoken, and our congressional delegation should never have to fear for their lives to represent Californians," he said in a statement.
President-elect Biden strongly condemned the attack on the Capitol, blaming "a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness." He called on Trump to go on national television to fulfill his oath to defend the Constitution and "demand an end to this siege."
"To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest. It is insurrection," he said in remarks delivered to the nation.
"America is so much better than what we're seeing today."
Local Assemblyman Marc Berman said in a tweet, "We are watching in real time an attempted coup of the American government, and it's being led by the President of the United States. Shame on all who have emboldened, coddled, and made excuses for him and his seditious actions. All of them."
Around 3 p.m. officials reported that the Capitol was once again secure following the assault.
Andrea Gemmet contributed to this report.
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