Rep. Pat Fallon (TX-4) said the U.S. House had been in the middle of a debate when Capitol Police entered the chamber and announced that there had been a breach in the building. Police told representatives that they should remain in their seats.
“The breach must have gotten worse because they started to evacuate,” the former Frisco City Councilman stated on social media Wednesday afternoon.
When a violent mob touting support for President Donald Trump reached the House chamber doors, Fallon said police were short handed. He described visible concern on people’s faces but said he and other representatives in the room stood their ground.
“We broke off furniture to make clubs to defend the U.S. House of Representatives,” Fallon stated.
Fallon recalled helping police barricade House chamber doors with a large piece of furniture.
“And that’s when the small pieces of glass went flying,” he stated.
He recalled someone screaming “shots fired” and another person yelling “rounds fired.”
“Those rounds, if that’s what caused that broken glass would have struck us just seconds before,” he said at roughly 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. “Please pray for a peaceful resolution. We must condemn any and all violence.”
Fallon wasn’t the only North Texas lawmaker in the area as the mob infiltrated the building.
Rep. Van Taylor (TX-3) had been in his office watching the House proceedings on closed-circuit TV as part of an effort to keep the number of congress members in the chamber low in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taylor said he didn’t think any of the Capitol stormers got into the office building complex. He recalled various instructions to shelter in place and to stay in offices and lock doors.
“I saw a mass of police officers filling the streets. I mean, literally the streets around my office building were just piled with first responders all over the place,” he said. “It took hours to get enough personnel on site to get control of the situation again. Unfortunately, Capitol Police lost control, and things got very tense and very heated.”
Hours passed before officials announced that the Capitol building was secure.
“There were scores of members of the U.S. House of Representatives in the chamber while the protestors were coming in,” Taylor said. “And obviously, there's no room for that in our democracy. The point of the House of Representatives is to settle our differences by a debate and a vote, not with violence.”
When congress reconvened to finish certifying the results of the presidential election Wednesday night, Taylor described the mood of the chamber as resigned to finishing the job.
“Our republican form of government hasn't stopped,” he said. “It's going to continue despite this disturbance. As upsetting as it is, it can't stop our democracy and our form of government.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Taylor announced that he would be voting to accept the electoral votes certified by every state in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Later that evening in a statement, he said his job of defending the constitution was even more important after a violent mob had broken into the House Chamber.
In an interview that evening, Taylor said the framers of the Constitution did not want members of the U.S. Congress to select electors or the U.S. President.
“The only requirement to be an elector is you can't be a member of congress,” Taylor said. “And so their intent of not having congress pick the president is spelled out in black and white in the Constitution.”
Taylor said the events on Wednesday underscored how precious democracy is and “how boisterous our form of government can be.”
“And occasionally, it busts out at the seams,” he said. “But I think at the end of the day, we have a great form of government, and even this, which this particular decision set that we're going through right now, we're going to come to the right conclusions for our country.”