NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Members of Congress on Thursday talked about what they experienced at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, including many members from the Tri-State Area.
In extraordinary hours of chaos at the Capitol, as demonstrators smashed and bashed their way in, Vice President Mike Pence and all 100 senators were whisked out of chambers.
Huddled in the House chamber, members hid anywhere they could, CBS2’s Mary Calvi reported.
Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng barricaded her office door, and tweeted, “After 5 hours I’ve been rescued from my hiding place. Protestors were right outside the door chanting ‘USA! USA.’ It was scary, but I am OK! Thanks all for your prayers.”
“I started hearing alerts on the announcement systems to stay away from windows and doors. Within about 10 or 15 minutes, the room that I was in, I started hearing a lot of stomping and chanting right outside,” Meng would later say.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents the 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, took to social media while sheltering in place.
“I’m proud of America, but I’m not proud of this. It’s extremely disturbing. It’s not what you’d expect in the great country of America,” Maloney said.
“The only thing separating us from those domestic terrorists were a sprinkling of law enforcement agents and many of us feared for our lives,” newly elected Rep. Mondaire Jones, who represents Westchester and Rockland counties, told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
“Never did I imagine living through a violent siege on the Capitol,” Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres added.
Torres said he huddled with hundreds of members of Congress amid panic and pandemonium.
“Yesterday, we as a country ventured into dangerously and uncharted territory and the blame falls solely rest with Donald Trump,” Torres said.
It was low point in our country, said Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island.
“I was thinking about the big picture of using violence versus debating to accomplish your goals. What our country is all about, this was a very sad day for our country,” Suozzi said.
It’s a sentiment echoed from the other side of the aisle as well, even though recently retired Republican Peter King was watching from his Long Island living room.
“That was insanity and I put this … this is the responsibility of President Trump. What happened yesterday is directly responsible to him. You can’t turn a mob loose and once that happens not denounce them. He said he feels their pain. To hell with that. These were evil anarchists.”
Newly elected Staten Island Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis spoke out Thursday morning.
“Being in that chamber at that moment, when the Capitol Police had rushed in they told us to reach for our gas masks. You have to understand that earlier in the day there were bomb threats. My office building had been evacuated as well. So we weren’t sure what was happening at that exact moment,” Malliotakis, a Republican, told Fox News. “I was among those who voted against certification for the two questionable states. I have serious concerns about what occurred in those states.”
The storming of the Capitol played out on newscasts across the globe, drawing quick condemnation from world leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim at President Donald Trump, saying he is partly responsible for the violence because he failed to accept his election defeat.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted, in part, “The outcome of this general election must be respected.”
America’s allies called it an assault on democracy.
“American democracy has always inspired me,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish.”
America’s enemies reveled in the chaos. Iran’s president said it proves the failure of Western democracy, while Russian officials called the violence evidence of the U.S.’s decline. Chinese state media called it, “A beautiful sight to behold.”
CBS2’s Mary Calvi and Carolyn Gusoff contributed to this report
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