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Rep. Neal Describes Chaotic Scene At Capitol Wednesday; Schumer Echoes Call For Trump's Removal

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal is describing a chaotic scene Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, where a mob overtook the building and halted the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

The Democrat from the first House district and chair of the Ways and Means Committee says insurrectionists spurred on by President Trump interrupted a Zoom call he was holding by pounding on his office windows, one of which was later broken.

Neal says he and his staff spent an hour quietly sheltering under orders from Capitol Police, who urged them to speak at a whisper and silence their phones while the lights were turned out.

Neal says it took six people to barricade the door with a table.

“For about an hour, it’s fair to say chaos ensured,” Neal said on a conference call."They were pounding at the door, they were pushing at the door....you could hear the marchers inside, outside."

The office of Rep. Richard Neal is cleaned up after Wednesday's destruction.
Credit The office of Rep. Richard Neal
The office of Rep. Richard Neal is cleaned up after Wednesday's destruction.

Neal says he supports the removal of President Trump from office using the 25th Amendment, saying Trump incited Wednesday’s violence and continues to lie about the election result, citing the president’s call to Georgia officials last week.

Blaming “the president’s enablers” for allowing Trump to stoke unfounded conspiracies about election fraud, Neal said cabinet officials “need to very carefully assess” removing Trump from office.

Just after Neal’s conference call, New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, soon to be Majority Leader, joined the chorus in a statement.

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said. “The quickest and most effective way - it can be done today - to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

"The actions yesterday, that have now been repeated since the election, have demonstrated his lack of interest in the institutions of governance," Neal added. 

Capital Region Congressman Paul Tonko, Rep. Mondaire Jones of the 17th district, Rep. Jamaal Bowman of the 16th district, and Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern of the 2nd district are among those who have also called for the president’s removal.

"This is lawlessness," Neal said. "There was an election. Joe Biden won by 7 million votes. It's been confirmed by more than 49 judges across the country. And for President Trump to insist that he won this election or nefarious activity kept him from winning the election is not met by one scintilla of evidence." 

With President-elect Biden due to be inaugurated Jan. 20th, Neal said the violence of the day was an “eye-opener” when it comes to security in Washington.

“I kept saying to myself, I wonder where the National Guard is at this moment,” he said.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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