MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - About every member of Congress has condemned the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, including both Tennessee U.S. Senators who planned to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn called the actions “truly despicable and unacceptable.”
Fellow Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty also condemned protesters.
“I have always believed in peaceful protesting. What is happening at the U.S. Capitol right now is not peaceful, this is violence. I condemn it in the strongest terms. We are a nation of laws and this must stop,” said Hagerty.
Like his colleagues, Congressman Steve Cohen was told to shelter in place.
“I’ve got my doors locked and I’ve got my baseball bat,” said Cohen.
We were able to get in contact with Cohen while as he was sheltered in an office. He described the actions of the protesters as something out of a movie and “totally un-American.”
Note: There are minor technical issues with the video below.
Rioters stormed the Capitol as Congress performed its Constitutionally mandated duty to certify the presidential election results.
“We put on our gas masks in case they used gas and they told us to be ready to get to the floor in case there was gunfire,” said Cohen.
Cohen calls it an attempted coup.
“We were engaged in electing a president of the United States officially and these people disturbed that activity because they don’t want the president of the United States to be elected, Joe Biden,” said Cohen. “They were instructed to do this by Donald Trump. This is what tinpot dictators do in third world countries.”
Both Tennessee senators pledged to object to certifying Biden’s win, along with Congressman David Kustoff.
WMC Political Analyst Mike Nelson says Blackburn and Hagerty have tough questions to answer now.
“You’ve got to wonder if they’re proud of how these events unfolding this afternoon with violent intrusions into the capitol, disrupting the nation’s business,” said Nelson.
State Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, put the blame for Wednesday’s Capitol violence, at least in part, on Sens. Blackburn and Hagerty. The two both planned to reject the Electoral College votes heading into the day’s certification hearing.
Blackburn, Hagerty and Kustoff condemned the actions of the rioters who stormed the capitol.
“Thank you to everyone for reaching out. I am safe,” Kustoff tweeted. “However, these actions are unacceptable. We are a nation of laws, not a nation of violence.”
Read more reactions from Mid-South lawmakers below:
State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, Chairman of Shelby Delegation also released a statement.
“As a legislator, a former U.S. Marine and an American, I am embarrassed, concerned and extremely disappointed in the acts and the incitement of rioting by @realDonaldTrump. To put the lives of members of Congress, their staff and others at risk is detestable. This is not patriotic and completely unAmerican and it’s cowardice. This act of a sitting POTUS puts our country in a position of vulnerability with our enemies. Our security as a nation is at risk. This is an attempted #coup.”
Governor Bill Lee said the act is “inexcusable and an affront to our founding principles and freedoms.”