PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Local politicians are responding on Twitter after angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Trump issued a restrained call for peace but did not call on his supporters to leave.

The deliberations inside were still in their early stages when they were overcome by raucous demonstrations outside, as protesters who clashed with police entered the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags. They abruptly interrupted the proceedings in an out-of-control scene that featured eerie official warnings directing people to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks.

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In a statement, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey said, “This is an absolute disgrace. I appreciate the work of the United States Capitol Police under difficult circumstances. I am currently safe as are the few members of my staff that are currently at the Capitol complex.”

Eyewitness News spotted an increased police presence in the Independence Mall area. There are police SUVs and also officers on bicycles patrolling. There is no alarming activity to speak of in the city, which is the complete opposite of what is happening at the capitol in Washington, D.C.

Eyewitness News spoke with two local Congressmen who are sheltering in place in the Capitol building along with police.

“They did not get inside of the house, from what I could report,” Rep. Dwight Evans said. “This happened on the Senate side, it was shutdown and the speaker was moved and the vice president was moved, but they didn’t get to the location in the house side. At the end of the day, I feel secure and I feel safe, encouraging people to stay as long as it takes to complete our tasks.”

Evans and Rep. Brendan Boyle both told Eyewitness News they and their staff are safe in D.C. and want to thank the many constituents who have reached out inquiring about their well-being.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who announced he would vote against certifying the Electoral College results, told The Associated Press that while he sympathizes with the protesters’ position, they shouldn’t get violent, and it would be “nice” if Trump called on them to “protest in a peaceful way in an appropriate spot, where you belong, where you should be.”

“People get aggravated, but that does not ever, ever, ever condone violence. Violence is something that is not acceptable nor is it necessary in our country,” he said.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez tweeted, “My staff and I are safe and following guidance from Capitol Police. The scene in the Capitol goes against every value we pledge to uphold as a nation. Democracy will prevail.”

Rep. Susan Wild, who represents Pennsylvania’s 7th District, tweeted that she is “safe and ok” and that she was “moved with other members out of the Capitol under police guard.”

Rep. Madeleine Dean, who represents Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, tweeted that she “Just wanted to let everyone know that I am safe on the House floor. Deeply saddened by the scene outside the Capitol.” Later she tweeted that she was evacuated and finding a safe location. “Please pray for peace in this nation,” she wrote.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District, tweeted “I wanted to let you know that I am safe. My heart is broken for our country.”

Rep. Dwight Evans, who represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District, tweeted that he is safe, “I ask for your prayers & thoughts for the police who are working to restore a safe environment inside the People’s house, the Capitol.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said what’s happening in D.C is an “an attempted coup.”

“What we’re seeing today is not democracy—it’s an attempted coup,” Wolf wrote in a tweet. “We had a free and fair election. The results were clear.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also called the riots an attempted coup, tweeting “We are witnessing one of the darkest days in American history. The President must immediately condemn the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol and deploy the National Guard to keep Members of Congress safe and allow a peaceful transition of power.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the riots an “insurrection incited” by the president, tweeting, “We are witnessing an insurrection incited by @realDonaldTrump, who threatens the foundations of our democracy. He and all who stirred this violence and sedition must be held accountable. Praying for our representatives, their staffs, and those protecting them at the Capitol.”

CBS’3 Trang Do contributed to this report.

(©Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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