“The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s capital was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way. We condemn it, the president and this administration, in the strongest possible terms,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told a press conference. “It is unacceptable and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Lawmakers were gathered in the U.S Capitol for a joint session of Congress to count electoral votes. Violence broke out at the building on Wednesday afternoon when a group of protesters breached the building and interrupted lawmakers who were at the time debating whether to reject Electoral College votes for Arizona.
It is unclear who instigated the breach of the Capitol building.
Law enforcement officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A total of four people were confirmed dead on Capitol grounds late Wednesday, among whom was a woman who died after being shot inside the Capitol building.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was certified as the winner of the 2020 presidential election following the vote count in the early hours of Thursday.
Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) preside over a Joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after protestors stormed the Capitol earlier in the day in Washington on Jan. 6, 2020. (Erin Schaff/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
McEnany said Thursday afternoon that while the First Amendment guarantees the right of the people to peacefully assemble, “What we saw last night in Washington and across the country was not that.”
“Make no mistake what we saw yesterday afternoon in the halls of our capitol likewise was not that,” she again noted.
“We grieve for the loss of life and those injured and we hold them in our prayers and close to our hearts at this time,” she added. “We thank our valiant law enforcement officers who are true American heroes.”
McEnany described Wednesday’s events as “a group of violent rioters undermining the legitimate first amendment rights of the many thousands who came to peacefully have their voices heard in our nation’s capital.”
“Those who violently besieged our capitol are the opposite of everything that this administration stands for,” she said. “The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live in safety peace and freedom.”
She said that people working in the White House “are working to ensure an orderly transition of power.”
“Now it is time for America to unite to come together to reject the violence that we have seen. We are one American people under God,” McEnany concluded and left abruptly without taking questions from reporters.
This story is developing, please check back for updates.