Ryan: ‘This Is Insane!’ Congress on Lockdown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio 13, answers his cell phone and immediately says, “It’s crazy. I’m in lockdown. I won’t tell you where but not in the Capitol.”

Ryan, like most Americans, was watching TV coverage of the siege at the U.S. Capital.

“It’s insane! This has been stoked by the president. It’s unbelievable to watch this happen in the United States. This is something you see in other countries.”

Asked by The Business Journal what he’s hearing from his colleagues, “We’re just trying to stay in touch. Everybody is in lockdown. No one can believe this.”

The congressman voiced his frustration with the Capitol police.

“This is a complete failure. How did they get anywhere close to the Capitol? We were told they were going to keep these protesters blocks away from the Capitol,” he said.

“This is not OK. We are a nation of laws. Please pray for all of our law enforcement, elected officials and staff on Capitol Hill. Please pray for our country.”

While protesters swarmed the Capitol, the House and Senate office buildings were sealed, unable to be penetrated.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, reported on Twitter that he and his staff were safe.

“The violence at the Capitol needs to end now. The lives of countless workers – journalists, staff, and Capitol Police are being put at risk by this attack on our democracy,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, said the congressman, who had been on the House floor, was in a “secure location,” spokesman Ben Keeler said.

“We’re trying to get more information. It’s a fluid situation,” he said.

Johnson subsequently issued a two-sentence statement: “I’m shocked and dismayed by the violence here in the Capitol. This is not the way Americans solve our problems.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly said on Facebook that he and his staff were safe and thanked the Capitol police.

“We know there is a lot of anger over this election and what’s happening in America, but this is not who we are. We resolve our disputes peacefully under the rule of law. This must stop now,” Kelly wrote.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, posted a brief statement on Twitter. “The right to protest peacefully is protected under the Constitution but the actions by violent mobs against our law enforcement and property at the @USCapitol building today are not. @realdonaldtrump should condemn this unacceptable vandalism and violence,” he wrote.

Just before 5 p.m., Ryan spokesman Michael Zetts reported that the congressman was still sheltering in place. “It is my understanding that they are still trying to clear the Capitol,” he said.

The Ohio Democratic Party released a statement from Chairwoman Rhine McLin condemning the violence in Washington and Ohio’s Republicans’ tacit support of Trump’s rhetoric over the past several years.

“President-elect Joe Biden is absolutely right: the words of a president matter,” McLin said.

“For too long, this president’s words have fanned the flames of hatred, chaos and racism, and for four years, Ohio Republicans have cheered him on or shrugged their shoulders and pretended to be ‘late for lunch,’” she continued. “We join President-elect Biden in calling on the president to go on national TV immediately, condemn the violence and demand that his supporters end their seditious attack on the U.S. Capitol. We will continue to pray for our nation and for our nation’s leaders.”

— Reported by George Nelson and Andrea Wood

Pictured: Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.