ORLANDO, Fla. — In August of 1814, British troops invaded the U.S. Capitol and burned the building. Two centuries later, a violent mob of what had been peaceful protesters stormed the building, smashing glass, breaking doors and vandalizing as they went.
Now lawmakers want to know how it was allowed to happen.
“The question is why weren’t there more Capitol Police here beforehand,” asked Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL 09). “The Capitol needs to be secured. This is the people’s house, and this is the first armed insurrection breaching the Capitol in more than 200 years.”
In a joint statement, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee said the attack on the Capitol raised “serious questions about what law enforcement did and what they should have done differently,” adding that, “we recognize the bravery of the Capitol Police and law enforcement officers who protected members and essential workers in the Capitol complex yesterday. At the same time, it is obvious that there was a severe systemic failure in securing the building’s perimeter and in the response once the building was breached.”
“I love the Capitol Police,” said former Republican staffer Jim Swift of The Bulwark. “They do an amazing job, and I was frankly shocked and surprised how yesterday transpired because I’ve seen the Capitol Police protect the people’s house and shoot people and kill people for far less than what happened yesterday.Clearly they were underprepared and outnumbered, but I think the Capitol Police acted as best they could given the situation.”
In the wake of the riot, the House Sergeant at Arms submitted his resignation and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called for the U.S. Capitol Police Chief to resign.
In a Twitter message, President-elect Joe Biden said, “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protestors yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true—and it’s unacceptable.”