Fox 29 Philadelphia: Local members of Congress react to violent clashes at US Capitol

Protesters backing President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in violent clashes with police that force a delay in the constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Trump had urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s win. Several Republican lawmakers have backed his calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.

Both chambers abruptly recessed as dozens of people breached security perimeters at the Capitol and lawmakers inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda.

A chaplain prayed as police guarded the doors to the chamber and lawmakers tried to gather information about what was happening.

An announcement was played inside the Capitol as lawmakers were meeting and expected to vote to affirm Biden’s victory. Due to an “external security threat,” no one could enter or exit the Capitol complex, the recording said. Both chambers abruptly went into recess.

Members of Congress from our area took to social media Wednesday to voice their disbelief.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania called it “an absolute disgrace” and thanked the United States Capitol Police for their work.

Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA02) tweeted that he never imagined he would see a day like this.

Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean who serves Pennsylvania’s 4th District asked for prayers for peace in the nation.

Dwight Evans (D-PA-3rd) said he was safe and asked for prayers for those working to restore a safe environment.

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey tweeted that the scene at the Capitol goes against every value “we pledge to uphold as a nation.”

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) wrote “I never thought I would see this in our nation – a President egging on protestors and allies in the Congress to seek to overturn an election. We need to come together and secure our democracy. I remain confident we will return to the Senate tonight and complete our work.”