Invading the Capitol building Wednesday, rioters sought Vice President Mike Pence, who had just issued a statement explaining that he didn’t have the authority to reject electoral votes and keep Donald Trump in office against the will of the American people. “Hang Mike Pence!” they chanted, as they made their way through the building with restraint implements.
In video clips from the event, rioters breaking into the Capitol building can be heard chanting, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” According to FTMZ, several also had zip ties with them, potentially for use as handcuffs or restraints.
The chant doesn’t appear to have been a sporadic expression of emotion by those actually busting into the building, either — Reuters photographer Jim Bourg says that he personally overheard protestors saying they hoped to find the Vice President and hang him.
I heard at least 3 different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor. It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed. https://t.co/fxHREouEWF
— Jim Bourg (@jimbourg) January 8, 2021
While legislators were moved to a secure location, the Trump supporters broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office, among others, taking selfies with police, and being photographed and videoed as they destroyed or stole items from the building. A scaffold and noose were erected on the grounds, bedecked with an American flag, while the crowd made terroristic threats.
Someone placed a sign saying: "THIS IS ART"
Imagine you walk into a bank with a gun, but everything is fine because it's written "THIS IS ART" on it https://t.co/L3jHeqReKH
— Mat Velloso (@matvelloso) January 7, 2021
Multiple improvised explosive devices were also found in the area.
USA Today is reporting that Pence is angry with Trump for his role in the attack, while for his part, the president has called the VP a ‘coward’ and restricted his advisors’ access to the White House. However, Pence is reportedly not moving forward with 25th Amendment procedures to remove an incompetent or dangerous president, and has made no public comment about being made a target through Trump’s rhetoric.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com