Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) on Thursday recalled the moment the U.S. Capitol building was breached during a Jan. 6 joint session to count and certify Electoral College votes for the 2020 presidential election, saying she was left shaken by the incident and that lawmakers were at one point “sitting ducks.”
Proceedings in the chambers to debate whether to reject votes for Arizona were interrupted in the afternoon when a group of protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol at around 2:15 p.m. Officials declared around 6 p.m. the Capitol building had been secured. Congress, in the early hours of Thursday, certified the Electoral College vote for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Miller, the newly-elected congresswoman of the Illinois 15th Congressional District, voted in favor of the objection to Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral results. Both objections failed to get a simple majority in either chamber.
“It was shocking. We were in the House and we were told that the Capitol had been compromised, then I believe we were hearing some kind of gunfire, all kinds of things,” Miller said during an interview with The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program. “Several of the members got up and left, then we were told, ‘get your gas masks out’—which I didn’t even know we had them under our seats.”
“I was shaking under the gas mask,” Miller continued. “I think I’m in pretty good shape, but I don’t know it’s adrenaline or we actually were rushing to the point that I was tired and out of breath.”
Congresswoman Mary Miller speaks to NTD on Dec. 22, 2020. (screenshot NTD)
Miller said lawmakers were then led to a room with windows next to a door and with no police officer present.
“I was thinking how we were sitting ducks there. We were there, just, maybe five minutes,” she said. “Then the police came and said come with us again, and then took us to a secured room with no windows. They did tell us, ‘do not tell the media where you are.’ We weren’t there very long.”
Miller described Jan. 6 as “a very sad day in our nation.”
It is unclear who instigated the breach of the building, however, the FBI is seeking the public’s help to identify those who were involved.
Four people were confirmed dead on Capitol grounds late Wednesday, among whom was a woman who died from being shot inside the Capitol building. The D.C. Police Department identified her as 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt of Huntington, Maryland. The department said the three others died in separate medical emergencies. They were 50-year-old Benjamin Philips of Pennsylvania, 55-year-old Kevin Greeson of Alabama, and 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland of Georgia.
A U.S. Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, also died due to injuries while on duty responding to the unrest. The U.S. Capitol Police Department (USCP) confirmed in a statement that he died at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday. His death will be investigated by the D.C. Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and its federal partners.
Police officers in riot gear walk toward the U.S. Capitol as a group of protesters breached the Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
“I, of course, joined my colleagues in denouncing this violence. … I want to be part of bringing healing to our nation,” Miller continued. “I support our police, the Capitol Police, I’m sure all of them have been doing all that they can, and I’m sorry that this has happened.”
Miller cautioned against rushing to conclusions regarding who was behind the breach of the U.S. Capitol building, saying that the nation is “more polarized than ever.”
“I think that we shouldn’t rush to conclusions. One side saying it’s Trump, the other side saying it’s Antifa. Personally, I’m going to be slow in making a statement about that. I’m sure that it’s under investigation. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was both.”
“I do think that our nation is more polarized than ever, and I hate it. I hate the angry rhetoric. I think that the leaders should try to pull our nation together,” she added.
“Last night in the Capitol … the Democrats were accusing us of treason, sedition, insurrection, we caused it. That’s really unhelpful, and it’s a lie. It’s untrue. And I think that we should stop that kind of talk and work together for the good of our nation.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.