Dallas Rep. Colin Allred recalls chaotic scene as mob breached the Capitol
WASHINGTON – When a violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump knocked on the chamber doors on Wednesday after breaking security at the U.S. Capitol, Dallas Rep. Colin Allred – a bunch of a man who was once in the NFL – drew in played – off his jacket and tie.
“I was prepared for anything that might come,” he said.
The second-term Democrat then texted his wife, Aly, who was home with their 23-month-old son Jordan.
“Whatever happens, I love you,” he wrote.
She wrote back, “I love you too.”
When the glass began to shatter on the furniture-barricaded doors, Allred and his colleagues – gas masks in hand – were evacuated from the floor of the house and taken to an undisclosed location where they were staying when law enforcement tried to take control of it Reclaim the Capitol.
One of the last things Allred remembers in the chamber was Capitol cops with guns drawn.
“It was far worse than any picture can convey,” he said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News, calling it “one of the most shameful things in American history.” “Far, much worse and much, much more dangerous. It was almost extreme violence. “
Dallas MP Colin Allred said the Capitol scene was “far worse than any picture can convey”. (Brian Elledge / The Dallas Morning News)(Brian Elledge / Staff Photographer)
Allred was among those pushed into the epicenter of one of the most tumultuous days in modern US history when lawmakers were forced to flee the heart of American democracy when the Capitol was besieged by rioters angry at the presidential election .
The day should be tense. However, this was the worst case scenario.
Congress met in joint session to count the electoral college votes to hand over the White House to President-elect Joe Biden. A group of Republicans planned to object to the certified results in key swing states after Trump unfounded claims that the election had been stolen from him.
Shortly before the session began, Trump urged supporters to march on the Capitol at a rally on the National Mall.
“We’re going to go down … to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen,” said the president. “And we probably won’t cheer some of them that much. Because you will never take our country back weakly. “
The events in the Capitol initially went as expected. Vice President Mike Pence presided. The count started. Republicans protested the results in Arizona. The House and Senate split for two hours of debate. Allred was in the house as a member of the democratic leadership.
Then a mob gathered outside the Capitol and finally broke in.
Allred and others followed the reports, especially when the house building, which also includes Allred’s office, had to be locked. The full horror of the situation became apparent when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top leaders were quickly removed from the chamber, Allred said.
“We could hear screams,” he said. “We could hear beating.”
Richmond Blue MP Troy Nehls helps U.S. Capitol Police while they leave their guns near a barricaded door as protesters attempt to break into the U.S. Capitol’s house chamber on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 in Washington to break in. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)(Andrew Harnik)
Tear gas was used in the Capitol rotunda, so lawmakers have been instructed to prepare gas masks to be kept under their seats. Allred helped some of his colleagues remove their masks when the Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Marine Corps veteran, gave instructions.
“When you put your mask on, breathe slowly or you will hyperventilate,” Gallego said, according to Allred.
Other Texans, meanwhile, jumped into action.
Freshman Rep. Troy Nehls, a Richmond Republican and former Fort Bend County sheriff, joined the Capitol Police in trying to prevent the mob from entering the chamber of the house. Sherman Rep. Pat Fallon remembered a group of other newly minted Republicans from Texas on Facebook.
Among them were Amarillo Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Navy veteran, and San Antonio Rep. Tony Gonzales, also a Navy veteran.
“We demolished furniture to set up clubs to defend the US House of Representatives,” wrote Fallon, an Air Force veteran who played soccer for Notre Dame, on Facebook. “There was visible concern on all faces and yet we stood our ground.”
All legislators were eventually brought out of the Chamber of the House to safety.
As Allred and others walked through a tunnel, he saw one of the House MPs carrying historical paraphernalia from the lectern – “priceless heirlooms of our democracy,” he said – to “make sure they weren’t destroyed”.
“I cannot stress enough how inviolable the floor of the house should be,” he said. “It’s a place of debate. It’s a place of democracy. It’s a place where we have disagreements. It is not a place of violence. “
He added: “There are no words I can say to express how sad I am for our country today.”
Allred pinned violence against Trump and accused the president of “instigating a coup” by encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol. The Texan described it all as “trying to overthrow our government, and I don’t say this lightly – it’s treason and turmoil.”
Legislature did not equally guilt members of Congress, including several Texans who objected to the election results.
“I won’t go that far,” said Allred. “People have a right to object. I do not agree. It’s anti-democratic what they do, but at least most of the people I’ve spoken to and know, I haven’t seen them calling for direct violence. “
When Allred was safe on Wednesday, he called his wife first. She had turned on cartoons at home. DC was filled with sirens and her toddler was scared. His wife “tried to keep him calm,” said Allred.
As for the legislature itself?
“I’m not scared, I’m not scared,” he said. “I will go back to the floor of the house as soon as the Capitol is vacated, and we will continue to do our duty. Because they won’t keep us from our democracy. “