Local U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) were among hundreds of legislators forced to flee the House floor on Wednesday as thousands of rioters supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Both Tri-Valley congressmen were whisked away to an undisclosed location after the mob quickly overwhelmed Capitol Police and stormed the Capitol building, postponing congressional certification of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
DeSaulnier and Swalwell have since released statements reassuring constituents that they are unharmed and have condemned the assault on the Capitol.
"Thank you to everyone who has checked in. I am safe and my staff are safe. I'm grateful to the men and women of the Capitol Police," Swalwell said on Twitter. "Terrorists will not stop democracy. (Joe Biden) is going to be the next president. Soon, Congress will resume its duty of certifying the election."
In an earlier Tweet, Swalwell called on his fellow members of congress to condemn the assault, saying: "As Representatives, we swear on oath to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Any elected official who does not denounce this full frontal assault on our democracy is assisting a coup attempt on the Capitol."
"I wasn't too concerned until I could hear angry voices, some scuffling and then people running by trying the doors which were locked. At that point I realized, quite incredibly, that this mob had gotten to this sanctum sanctorum," said DeSaulnier, who was locked in an office during the assault. "It was not a good day for American democracy. Imagine what other countries see when they look at this Capitol."
Protesters against the election of Biden as president entered the Capitol on Wednesday morning as both houses of Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes, according to multiple media reports. Trump had spoken to his followers earlier in the day at a rally and told them to march to the Capitol to protest the election results, which he has claimed against all evidence was fraudulent.
One woman has reportedly died after being shot inside the building, several law enforcement officials told The Washington Post.
The National Guard has been ordered to assemble and help restore order, according to news reports, which said the request was made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.
Pelosi tweeted at about 1 p.m. that she and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer are jointly calling on Trump "to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol grounds immediately."
In a televised address, Biden also told Trump to step up and call off the violence.
"Let me be clear: the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it's disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now," he said.
He also took his demand to Twitter. "I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution by demanding an end to this siege," he wrote.
At about 1:30 p.m. Trump went on television and told people to go home. He insisted, however, repeatedly, that the election was stolen.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said what was being witnessed in the Capitol was reprehensible and "an outright assault to our democratic institutions."
"The people of California have spoken, and our congressional delegation should never have to fear for their lives to represent Californians," he said in a statement.
Following statements made by DeSaulnier and Swalwell, local Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) has also condemned the assault, saying "Today is an incredibly sad day for America. To see our Capitol and our Democracy under siege by rioters and lawmakers who seek to undermine our constitution is horrifying."
"Worse yet, they have been spurred on by President Trump, who continues to incite violence and insurrection with his lies and wild conspiracy theories. He has no regard for our constitution, or our free and fair elections, and I for one cannot wait for Jan. 20. I once again urge calm and a peaceful transition of power," she added.
State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) praised law enforcement for their efforts to protect officials, but did say security missteps were evident after the mob was able to flood the Capitol building.
"Praise to law enforcement who stepped into the void to protect our Capitol but the breakdown in security at the perimeter was an embarrassment. There needs to be accountability for the lawbreakers and the security missteps," Glazer said on Twitter.
Speaking on behalf of the other side of the aisle, Contra Costa County Republican Party Chairman Matt Shupe issued a statement condemning the mobs' actions as "completely unacceptable, hypocritical and antithetical to the principles of the United States, our Constitution and the Republican Party."
"I am deeply embarrassed for our nation today," he said. "You cannot say you support law and order in one breath and then act this way the next. It is outrageous and must stop."
A number of local leaders shared their thoughts on the mob, such as former two-term California assemblywoman Catharine Baker who simply Tweeted "Completely and totally disgusting. Despicable."
Vice Mayor of San Ramon Sabina Zafar also condemned the day, tweeting "This is a tragic day for our country."
"More than anything, we need a UNITED States of America right now! What's happening on Capitol Hill is just wrong. #respectthevote," she added.
Editor's note: The situation in D.C. still remains very fluid. The Weekly story will be updated as more information and local reactions become available. For continuing coverage, follow your preferred national news outlet.