Locked in a windowless room in an undisclosed place, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo said the last five-plus hours she has spent hiding from mobs of President Donald Trump supporters who stormed the nation's Capitol building is the worst day of her life in politics.
"I think it's been a day from hell for everyone who's here and across the country," she said during a phone call on Wednesday evening in Washington, D.C., where she was still in lockdown.
"This is the tabernacle of our democracy. To see a mob break through, break windows ... it really leaves one so shaken," she said.
The country has never experienced such an extraordinary event as the takeover of its congressional halls by a citizen mob seeking to overthrow the election of a president. The last time the government was attacked in such a manner was in the 1800s when a foreign power attacked the White House, she said. (During the War of 1812, the British Army raided and set fire to the White House, the Capitol and other structures in D.C.)
Eshoo said she was walking from her office through a tunnel to the House chamber when a mob breached the building. She was headed to the gallery to observe the proceedings, as only those who were speakers were allowed on the floor due to COVID-19 protocols.
Capitol police came running toward her. "They said, 'Turn around! Turn around! Go back! Go back!'" she said. She had not been allowed to return to her office in the Cannon Building, one of two buildings that were evacuated, she said, but she was with other people.
When she came to work, she thought the security seemed "totally inadequate." There didn't seem to be many more officers in place than on any other day and she didn't understand why the perimeter of the Capitol plaza wasn't closed off, she said. She said she thought perhaps they would add more security protections later in the morning.
"When I looked at the plaza, I didn't have a good feeling," she said. "Why isn't there a full force out there?' she said she thought.
"I think there was totally inadequate preparation for this. … This was a determined, vicious crowd driven by and embracing the lies of the president," she said.
Eshoo said she hoped Congress would return to their certification proceedings of the presidential election sometime later in the evening. (Congress did reconvene on Wednesday night.)
"Despite the horrors of today, and the attack on our democracy that we will be resilient and continue. Specifically, with the count of the electoral balance. I think that would send a very strong message across the country that we are not going to be (threatened) that we that we must continue, and that we will," she said.
Beyond personal losses such as losing family members, Eshoo said Wednesday was the saddest day of her life.
She hasn't heard any Republicans condemn the actions of the president or his followers, she said. She doesn't know whether they plan to continue arguing against the certification, she added.
"They certainly don't seem to have very much to say," she said. "I mean, (they) obviously, wrapped themselves around the, the axle of Donald Trump for four years, and I haven't heard one of them today say far 'This is terrifying.' It needs to be called out. I haven't heard anyone say anything. And you're talking about other people in Congress and in the Senate -- Republicans. Republicans, specifically, were complicit in this."
She had strong words for the president.
"Demonstrators have a Constitutional right to protest," she said. But "(the president) urged them to do more than that. He did damage to not just a building and its room. This is where the representatives of the people speak on their behalf. This is where they govern … This is not a window broken in the basement of public works," she said.
This undertaking started with the president "inciting people. He incited them," she said.
Asked what actions she thinks should be taken against Trump, she said," I would impeach him. I would impeach him in the next 24 hours. He should not be president. He's brought our country, he's brought our democracy to its knees. … Beyond his party registration, I think he's a sick, broken individual."
Eshoo was among hundreds of legislators who fled the House floor on Wednesday as thousands of rioters supporting Trump stormed the Capitol building.
Protesters against the election of Joe 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.
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.
Rep. Jackie Speier tweeted updates to her followers Wednesday afternoon, offering the news that Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been escorted out. "We are in lock down. Thank you, POTUS!" she wrote, followed a couple of hours later by, "We are in a safe place. I will have lots more to say about this. We are not a 3rd world country but you couldn’t tell that today."
She also called for removing Trump from office.
"Trump has given us no choice. The 25th Amendment must be invoked now. We need to immediately wrest control of the country from him. He is not the commander of (sic) chief of the U.S. He is commander of chief of the Trump mob & proud boys. Pence must step up and defend our democracy," she wrote.
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.
Assemblyman Marc Berman of Palo Alto said in a tweet, "We are watching in real time an attempted coup of the American government, and it's being led by the President of the United States. Shame on all who have emboldened, coddled, and made excuses for him and his seditious actions. All of them."
On Wednesday afternoon, Facebook announced on Twitter a 24-hour block on Trump's account that will effectively prevent any posts from going up on the president's official Facebook page, which has 32.5 million followers.
"We've assessed two policy violations against President Trump's Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time," a Twitter post from Facebook Newsroom said.
By Thursday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg extended the block indefinitely.
"The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.
Over the last few years, Facebook has allowed Trump to use the platform consistent with its rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violated the policies. Zuckerberg said they did so because they believe the public has a right to broad access to political, if controversial, speech.
"But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.
"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."
The action follows a wave of condemnation from Silicon Valley leaders and other moves from tech companies to stop the spread of false information on the election results and encouragement of violent protests.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Twitter first announced a 12-hour block on @realDonaldTrump, an account with 88.7 million followers and is separate from Trump's official government Twitter account, after the social media company removed three tweets from the president, including a video where he told supporters to "go home," but not before he said he "loved" his supporters and continued to double down on his false claims that the election was stolen from him. (The video has since been removed from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.)
Citing the company's "civic integrity policy," Twitter name-dropped Trump and said in a post that "future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.