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Rep. Susan Wild Takes ELLE Inside the Capitol Lockdown

1000’s of Donald Trump supporters stormed the nation’s Capitol constructing yesterday, disrupting a joint session of Congress. Some members of Congress sheltered of their Capitol Hill places of work, whereas others contained in the Home chamber took cowl beneath their seats. Rep. Susan Wild of Pennsylvania was one of many final individuals to evacuate the gallery. Under, Rep. Wild recounts in her personal phrases the harrowing expertise—and why she made one last cellphone name to her children.


This time 24 hours in the past I used to be on the point of assist certify the election. In preparation for the large day, I Zoomed with members of the Pennsylvania Democratic delegation and, in anticipation of working into the wee hours of the morning, packed a backpack with loads of additional snacks and cellphone chargers. Then I slipped on my most comfy Rothy’s flats and headed to the Capitol.

That looks as if an eternity in the past.

Once I arrived at midday, I sat on the far proper facet of the gallery, above the Home flooring, to watch proceedings till it was Pennsylvania’s flip to talk. All of it felt business-as-usual till Capitol police despatched a collection of texts.

The primary was an alert about protestors.

The second textual content mentioned the Capitol’s exterior perimeter had been breached.

The third warned of an inside breach.

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I knew full nicely who the intruders had been and what they had been part of. Teams of individuals in MAGA hats had been ready outdoors the Capitol after I arrived earlier that morning, and I might heard of dialogue on social media about them bringing weapons.

Phrase unfold shortly by the gallery. We noticed cops operating by the hallways, after which Speaker Pelosi and Chief Hoyer had been accompanied off the ground by officers. We had been informed by the Sergeant-at-Arms to remain calm and keep in our seats. Unbelievably, we continued—however by then, nobody was listening.

“What about all of us?”

I used to be scoping out the place I might duck if I wanted to when, hastily, police shut the gallery doorways, and barricaded and locked them. We had been informed to examine underneath our seats for gasoline masks in a sealed bag, as a result of tear gasoline could be used on the intruders. Under, on the Home flooring, individuals ran away. However we had been up within the gallery with no escape. Rep. Diana DeGette leaned over the railing and shouted: “What about all of us?”

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Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard and Annie Kuster placed on gasoline masks and took cowl as rioters tried to interrupt into the joint session of Congress.

Tom WilliamsGetty Photos

To get to the one open door, we navigated extraordinarily slender aisles. It was chaotic and took an inordinately lengthy time frame. By the point I made it to the exit, I used to be informed I couldn’t evacuate. There had been one other disturbance within the hallway and the one open door was barricaded.

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I heard shouting from down under: “Get down! Get down!” So I acquired on my fingers and knees to crawl by the gallery.

That is when individuals began making cellphone calls. Rep. Terri Sewell, who was subsequent to me, known as her husband and her mom, telling them each that she beloved them. Rep. Jason Crow, who was behind me, phoned his spouse.

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Trump supporters clashing with police earlier than storming the U.S. Capitol constructing.

ROBERTO SCHMIDTGetty Photos

I want to speak to my children, I believed to myself, as a result of I could by no means speak to them once more.

I FaceTimed my 27-year-old son, Clay, and my 24-year-old daughter, Adrienne, to allow them to know I used to be staying as protected as attainable and that I might be okay.

Clay mentioned, “We hear gunshots and breaking glass within the background. How are you going to say you’re okay?

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Rep. Wild along with her son, Clay, at a a drive-in rally for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris final yr.

Mark MakelaGetty Photos

One thing about that decision prompted a panic inside me. My coronary heart started to pound. I felt paralyzed. The one means I can describe it’s “freaking out.” The door was nonetheless barricaded and it appeared like bullets had been ricocheting within the chamber. I felt trapped—a lot how I think about an emergency on an airplane would possibly really feel. Claustrophobic. Sheer panic. The worry of what is to come back.

In contrast to Rep. Crow, who has been in fight earlier than, I might by no means been in this sort of scenario. I should have been exhibiting indicators of maximum panic, as a result of he grabbed my hand and tried to calm me down.

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Professional-Trump supporters outdoors the U.S. Capitol following a rally.

Samuel CorumGetty Photos

I misplaced my proper Rothy’s shoe once we had been lastly rushed out, so I hopped down hallways and stairwells—locations I’ve by no means seen within the Capitol earlier than—to a big committee assembly room. We had been held there for six hours.

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Rep. Crow in some way managed to trace down my shoe. Not solely was he my private hero that day, however he additionally assisted Capitol police with the evacuation and instructed we take away our Congressional pins so we wouldn’t be recognized as members of Congress if we encountered perpetrators. Curiously, one among my African American colleagues, additionally a brand-new member of Congress, felt safer maintaining his pin on.“I don’t need to take it off,” he informed me, “as a result of I don’t need the police to not know that I’m a member.”

When it was first introduced we might return to complete the enterprise of certifying the election, my first thought was, “Are you kidding me? I imply, how will we return onto the Home flooring?”

However I shortly realized we wanted to get this factor executed.


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Rep. Wild tells ELLE.com she hopes to “see some accountability and shortly.”

Tom WilliamsGetty Photos

It took me endlessly to go to sleep final night time. My thoughts was racing. I could not cease excited about how we won’t simply neglect about this. There should be an investigation, each inside and exterior. My colleagues and I’ve had many discussions in regards to the President’s position on this. There have additionally been talks about future safety issues.

How had been so many indicators ignored? Why did the individuals charged with securing our nation not do one thing upfront? Have been Capitol police adequately staffed? Did somebody on the within know beforehand? I’m not making an accusation, however that’s a part of what must be fleshed out.

There’s a sense that the intruders acquired in means too shortly and knew the structure very nicely. Many people nonetheless have bother discovering Speaker Pelosi’s workplace, but they managed to search out it with out problem.

I hope to see some accountability, and shortly. Individuals ought to relaxation simple understanding we don’t permit rampant disregard of our democratic establishments, both by intruders or by the individuals who instigate them.

This interview has been flippantly edited and condensed for readability.

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