U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio was giving an interview when members of a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol building Wednesday.

The mob forced lockdowns and evacuations in place of what was supposed to be a ceremonial vote approving the electors’ choice of President-elect Joe Biden.

DeFazio’s interview was outside of a separate building that holds his office. He said he was directed to go inside and shelter in place, and he’ll be staying for awhile.

While he spoke to The News-Review Wednesday afternoon, he learned that a curfew had been called.

“I guess I’ll be sleeping in the office tonight,” he said.

In more than three decades in Congress, DeFazio has seen a lot. But never anything like this.

“The United States Capitol has just been invaded by people who are intent in overturning the Constitution of the United States and our representative democracy, and trying somehow to perpetuate Trump and make him the dictator,” he said.

The people who stormed the Capitol aren’t protesters, he said.

“Protesters do not invade the U.S. Capitol, they do not destroy artifacts in the Capitol. These are not protesters these are radical right-wing thugs,” he said.

Dramatic events during DeFazio’s time in office included the first removal of a Speaker of the House in a century, wars and 9/11, along with two school shootings in his district.

“It’s kind of like what’s next, locusts?” he said.

DeFazio said he had predicted the riots, and he was disappointed by the lack of preparedness and the lack of aggression in the initial police response as the riot grew out of control.

“I saw something inexplicable where they pulled back the barriers and let people go toward the Capitol where they could break in. I have no idea what that was about,” he said of the Capitol Hill police.

He predicted an investigation of the police response and said “maybe some senior law enforcement heads are going to roll.”

The National Guard response was delayed by the president, but the governors of neighboring states approved sending in the Maryland and Virginia National Guards.

DeFazio was prepared to hunker down for the night, and expected the session to resume in the evening. He said he can’t legally carry a gun in the city, but he had some bear spray.

Despite all that happened, DeFazio said it was a bittersweet day. Two Georgia Democratic Senate candidates were selected in the runoff there, giving Democrats the majority.

He said he believes the country’s divide will be healed because Democratic control will enable passage of things like COVID-19 relief and an infrastructure package he’s been working on that he said will create millions of jobs.

While DeFazio hunkered down in his office, protesters sympathetic to the Trump protesters at the national Capitol were demonstrating outside of the state Capitol in Salem.

Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Myrtle Creek, spoke to the crowd and spoke of political opponents as enemies, whether mayors, county commissioners or legislators.

“If you’re the enemy of the people I’m your enemy,” he said.

He had this to say about state leaders as he gestured to the state Capitol.

“Don’t let any of these punks from that stone temple over there ever tell you they are better than any of you. Trust me, I work with these fools. None of them are half as good as any of you and you need to bring the power to them,” he said.

“Don’t be violent, take action, trust in God and take down these fools in 2022,” he said.

Right-wing and counterprotesters fought at the rally and the assembly was declared unlawful and the crowd told to disperse.

Joe Biden won the November election, but President Donald Trump and some supporters have continued to assert the election results were affected by fraud. No such fraud has been proven, despite 60 court cases being brought at the state and national levels.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley told journalists in a Zoom meeting that the senators were safe and were ushered to an undisclosed, secure location.

“I think that this situation is the result of really what has been the failure to have a strong bipartisan pushback to the lies and conspiracy theories promoted by the president of the United States since the Nov. 3 election,” he said.

“Much of America has seen from what Trump describes as Trump Media, a story that is completely apart from reality. And as a result people across the nation came to the Capitol infuriated believing those false stories, those lies, those conspiracies and this is the result that we have at this moment,” he said.

Merkley said the first notice senators had of the problem was during the sixth speech of the debate on whether to accept the Arizona electoral votes.

He tied the protests to what he said was a “coup,” an attempt to overturn Biden’s election.

He said the Constitution gives Congress no role except to count the ballots and witness them.

When the first protesters ran into the room it was very sudden and unusual, he said.

He described the vice president being rushed off the floor, and senators first being told to evacuate and then to remain in lockdown.

There was concern there could be shooting, since some protesters were thought to be carrying firearms. A woman was later reported to have been shot and killed.

“It’s a strange feeling to be locked in a room that you know is not really designed to be secure when there are angry people outside,” Merkley said.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.

“What’s happening today in our nation’s Capitol is a direct assault on democracy, a riot by insurrectionists that caps off four years of Donald Trump fanning the flames of fanaticism,” Wyden said. “Every Republican lawmaker who supported his efforts to overturn a legitimate election shares responsibility for the violence at the heart of our democracy.”

Wyden said as a steadfast defender of the First Amendment, he would always support peaceful protest even “if I disagree with the views that are expressed.”

“This is far from peaceful protest. But I thank the Capitol Police for their courage protecting all elected officials from criminals bent on destroying democracy. And I very much look forward to resuming the urgent work for our country, as soon as possible,” Wyden said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(29) comments

CitizenJoe

Even William Barr knows that Trump is guilty.

Barr has accused Trump of “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress.” He calls Trump’s conduct a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”

Trump's cabinet and staff have resigned, are considering resigning, and are even discussing his removal.

Gidge

Pallets of bricks around DC were found, just like in all other cities that had ANTIFA and BLM riots. Some ANTIFA members were arrested. Now if those people get released and others are not, this will prove the Democrats were behind. As for the DC Mayor, she let the National Guard come in, but when her city was being burned, looted, statues destroyed, police injured and Fire Dept. being blocked from saving buildings, she said NO to the Guard. What is wrong with that picture.

CitizenJoe

My guess is, myopia.

Your myopia.

CitizenJoe

The claim about bricks is false.

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-construction-bricks-dc-remo/fact-check-construction-bricks-in-washington-d-c-removed-on-jan-6-idUSKBN29B2KM

Rise722

DeFazio is a sycophant. Period.

NJ

A sycophant of who, dear? Can you explain?

CitizenJoe

No, she cannot. She is as word challenged as she is mathematically challenged. "Douglas County has approximately 110,000 people. 1,000 cases represents .009 precent of this county. Not very big numbers, eh?"

She can't spell percent, and was off by two orders of magnitude.

Riviter

Peter is a thug himself, guy never returns phone calls.

David Sayers

I don’t recall seeing any articles from Defazio regarding all the “commotion” in Portland for the last 6-7 months or more, especially anything about the mayor actually joining the protestors at one point. No, I don’t recall Defazio saying anything about the Portland rioters at all. I Must have missed all that. Perhaps someone would be kind enough to send me a copy.

CitizenJoe

David Sayers: if you "don’t recall Defazio saying anything about the Portland rioters at all," you may wish to start taking Donepezil, Galantamine, or Rivastigmine.

Or you may wish to google DeFazio Portland. If, after that, you don't recall, you may wish to consider increasing the dose, or asking for one of the newer drugs.

Roseburgonian

Pretty sure this is a sign that our representatives are not doing their job. I wrote a letter to Peter Defazio once for a school project some 15 years ago. The response I received was so unrelated and generic that my teacher visibly blushed while reading the letter as the assignment was supposed to show how much attention our representatives pay to those they represent. Defazio has been the only representative that we have had my entire life as far as I know. As with Larry Rich being the only mayor of Roseburg I have ever known. We need a change. We need to stop allowing the same people who have been bending us over for decades decide how our lives are run. They seem to represent the rich and not the masses. A big circle jerk to put money in each others pockets each year to buy more houses and take more money from our children. Wake up!

mworden

I've actually been proud of America in the last few months and especially this week. The courts, from county courts to the Supreme Court, rejected Trump's suits over and over. Right-leaning judges who were appointed by Trump had no trouble upholding the law while they dismissed Trumps fake lawsuits with prejudice, meaning they were so flimsy they could not be re-filed. The courts worked.

When Trump has appealed to Republican governors and secretaries of state to help him, to find votes for him, to say their state votes were fraudulent, those state officials held firm and told him "no" repeatedly. Elected officials chose the law over political fealty.

When domestic terrorists broke into the capitol, our congressional reps and senators came back within hours to finish the business of naming Joe Biden our next president. The protesters, both outside and inside congress, were voted down and congress refused to disenfranchise millions of voters to give Trump a coup. Congress worked.

Vice President Pence broke with the president and did his constitutional job. We have three branches of government -- the executive, legislative and judicial. It's supposed to be a system of checks and balances. It worked.

Despite everything that's gone wrong, I'm proud of America because when push came to shove, the American system worked. Joe Biden, who was overwhelmingly elected by the majority of American voters, will be president on January 20.

We can talk about the Capitol Police another day. They didn't work. Fools taking selfies with criminals. At least we have their faces on social media. Twitter and FaceBook suspended Trump for a while for inciting violence and lying about the election. Even social media had a purpose.

I'm proud of America today.

CitizenJoe

mworden: nicely said, but my feeling is akin to driving up a steep mountain road, a cliff falling away to my right. As I round a sharp curve, I see a bent and mangled--but unbroken--guardrail. The freshly-scraped metal gleams in the sun.

It was a near thing. And that guardrail--well built as it was--is weaker. And may not work the next time.

Mike

When I truly consider how I feel about my country, “proud” is not the word I would use to describe it. We as Americans have held ourselves to be “the” examples of democracy, have forced our agenda on other countries that resisted our ways, because we felt we were better than them because we always acted in a democratic way. Yesterday, we and the rest of the world saw that was not true. No, “proud” is not the word I would use to describe how I feel about our country.

Mike

Did the DC Capitol police do their jobs today protecting the Capitol? Definitely not. The DC police chief says 13 people were arrested (below link) and one person was killed inside the Capitol as a result of the violent insurrection. You can only wonder how many would have been arrested and killed had Black Lives Matter been the group that stormed the Capitol.

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/congress-electoral-college-vote-count-2021/h_8e2454b067b27f7f01f08167b00e6038

Take for instance the DC Capitol Cops who were pictured taking selfies with the terrorists INSIDE the capitol. A Capitol Police officer can be seen in the below link posing for a selfie with protesters inside the Capitol. There’s noticeably little difference in the video between the Capitol terrorists and the Capitol police.

https://heavy.com/news/capitol-police-officer-selfie-trump-protester/

Another video posted to social media (below link) shows several officers in D.C. Capitol Police jackets removing barriers to allow demonstrators/terrorists to pass through to the Capitol building.

https://twitter.com/cevansavenger/status/1346920924310867968?s=20

OregonHusker

My guess is the same number that were killed today. Thousands, plural, of people stormed the Capitol and the police were vastly outnumbered. They were in kiss a** mode instead of kick a** mode because of it. Somebody is responsible for incredibly poor planning.

NJ

Most disappointing to have Fascist Dallas Heard representing us in the Oregon Legislature. What's to happen to little men with big anti-American aspirations of living under dictatorship? Relieve this small, small man of his political position that is complicit in inciting violence. There is no justifiable reason to allow him to continue to believe he represents us in any way. This is no leader, this is only an insurgent with an insulting, disrespectful and uncivil mind.

melrosereader

Heard should be expelled. Just like his predecessor. Kruse and Heard- Douglas County scum.

OregonHusker

Anybody question which side Alek Skarlatos would have been on had he been elected?

mjnutts

Tiny thoughts! Get a grip!

Momos

Wife at breakfast:

"Honey, maybe we should think about scraping those Trump stickers off the truck. It's getting embarrassing. And could you please stop wearing that stupid red hat?"

Mike

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means "well-being." In the Western world the swastika is synonymous with fascism. History has proven the red MAGA hat has followed a similar path. MAGA was originally thought to mean something people could be proud of. Not unlike the swastika, its meaning has degraded to facism.

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29644591

CitizenJoe

An American flag torn down and defiled. A Trump flag raised in its place. Armed terrorists taking over the halls of Congress. Terrorists carrying zip ties for hostage-taking. A president who invited these people to the capital for a "wild time" and who then incited the riot just before decamping to watch on television.

A Republican Party that didn't bother to adopt a platform in 2020, but rather said that the Republican Party existed to serve Trump.

And now it has.

melrosereader

Well Trumpers, are you proud?

mworden

I'm glad our Senators and Congressman are safe. I'm not so sure about our Republic. I echo melrosereader: Are you proud, Trumpers and GOPers? Are you proud of this coup attempt?

melrosereader

And I am not surprised. This is exactly what I expected. Trump's next step, unless he is removed and arrested, or 25th amendmented, is to attempt to declare martial law.,

CitizenJoe

Ya know? Some are. There are efforts to replicate at state legislatures, too.

Citizen495

What a sad, sad day.

mjnutts

I agree! They should be worried about the silent majority. Time to watch their back. I’m hopeful they give us the time out. Wait for what will come. It’s time for a recognition. Keep the faith. 🇺🇸

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