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Ohio's Congressional Delegation In Lockdown As Chaos Overtakes U.S. Capitol

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) prepares to evacuate the floor as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. [J. Scott Applewhite / AP]
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, prepares to evacuate the floor as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Updated: 5:24 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

Members of Ohio’s congressional delegation are scattered across the U.S. Capitol campus as protesters storm the Capitol building and surrounding offices, including the House and Senate chambers.

Many members and staff are able to communicate only through Twitter and other social media as the Capitol complex is locked down and they shelter in place.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) tweeted at 3:21 p.m. that he and his staff were safe and called for an end to the violence.

Public calls to end the protests that quickly turned violent came from members of both parties, including from Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, directly blamed the president for what is transpiring on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, when the U.S. Senate was supposed to be accepting the votes of the Electoral College but instead was evacuated from the chamber as protests outside escalated.

Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman also decried the violence from the pro-Trump extremists, calling on the president on Twitter to “condemn this unacceptable vandalism and violence.”

Rep. Marcia Fudge, who in December was appointed to President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet, called the situation “a sad day in the history of this great nation’s democracy” in a statement released around 3:30 p.m.

“This is a day that will live in infamy. The very people who believe they are protecting our country have succeeded in destroying it,” Fudge said.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan was reportedly “sheltering in place” on Capitol grounds, tweeting a call for prayers and confirming at 3:08 p.m. he was safe.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) also called for prayer and a swift end to the violence on Capitol Hill in a statement from Chief of Staff Tim Lolli.

“Congressman Gonzalez is safe and is following guidance provided by [U.S. Capitol Police],” according to the statement. “He encourages everyone to pray for the health and safety of our country in this extraordinarily difficult time. He unequivocally condemns all violent protestors.”

In a statement around 4:20 p.m., a spokesperson for Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs confirmed the congressman’s safety and condemned the actions of the protesters.

“These violent and illegal actions must be met with swift justice,” the statement from Gibbs’ office said. “He is urging everyone not engaged in violence to leave the Capitol area and let law enforcement do their job. This is shameful and un-American.”

Shortly after Trump addressed the nation and the protesters in a brief, recorded statement, asking them to “go home now” and repeating his false claims of election fraud, Ohio Republican Rep. Dave Joyce addressed the president directly in a tweet, saying the statement was “not enough” and calling the protesters at the Capitol Building “criminals.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, called the insurrection on Capitol Hill “an embarrassment to our country” and “an affront to our Constitution” in a 4 p.m. emailed statement.

“This must stop immediately,” said DeWine, himself a former senator and member of the U.S. House. “The stopping of the count of the Electoral College votes has occurred because the security of the U.S. Capitol has been breached by a violent mob. As a nation of laws, this is simply not acceptable.  Lawlessness is not acceptable.”

Peaceful demonstrations outside the Capitol are within the First Amendment rights of all Americans, DeWine said, but “stopping the constitutional process by which we elect the president is not.”