South Texas congressmen react to U.S. Capitol riots

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Police stand guard after holding off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WASHINGTON (KVEO) — Two congressmen that represent areas of the Rio Grande Valley are speaking out after being forced into lockdown when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Congressmen Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) were at the Capitol Building on Wednesday to vote to certify the Electoral College results of the 2020 Presidential Election.

While the day should have been business as usual for the representatives, it was clear early on for them that this would not be an ordinary day in Washington.

“I could feel the tension in the air,” commented Gonzalez on entering the Capitol on Wednesday with thousands of protesters surrounding the building. “I took my pin, coat, and tie off to look as casual as possible. I knew something was just not right.”

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) reacts to incident at U.S. Capitol

That tension turned into an invasion of the U.S. Capitol from supporters of President Donald Trump who wanted to prevent the electoral college votes from being finalized.

As rioters entered the Capitol and stormed toward the Senate floor, law enforcement quickly sealed the legislators in the chambers they were located.

According to Gonzalez, he took cover in a secure place. He later prepared for the worst as he was unsure if the perpetrators were armed or not.

“I was very concerned for my life,” said Gonzalez. “I was looking for the fastest and easiest path out.”

Cuellar, meanwhile, focused his attention on condemning the rioters for entering the U.S. Capitol.

“You can not be a ‘patriot’ or an ‘American’ and do what these people are doing,” demanded Cuellar. “This is not what a patriot does.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) condemns the rioters in Washington

Gonzalez also spoke down on those who infiltrated the Capitol.

“What we saw today was an assault on democracy, and a real display of internal domestic terrorism” stated Gonzalez. “If we don’t get our act together we won’t have a democracy for much longer.”

Additionally, both representatives reacted negatively to President Trump’s response to the event and believe he incited the incident.

“President Trump should concede an election he knows he lost and be respectful of our democracy,” said Gonzalez. “[he should] have a message unifying his own base and unifying our country.”

“President Trump spoke for an hour encouraging these people,” said Cuellar. “[He said] he’s not ever going to concede to this election defeat. I hope he takes full responsibility for what he’s doing.”

Cuellar went on to say he hopes those who entered the U.S. Capitol and caused chaos in Washington are taken into custody for their actions.

Both congressmen assured that despite the delay, legislatures will complete the electoral college verification Wednesday night into Thursday morning if necessary.

“We’re here to certify the 50 states and we are gonna do it,” affirmed Cuellar. “We are gonna continue to do our job.”

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