D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday blasted the Trump supporters who raided the U.S. Capitol to halt Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the November election, calling their actions “sedition” and “textbook terrorism.”
Bowser, speaking during an afternoon news conference, called for an investigation of the Capitol Police response to the incident, saying it was “a catastrophic failure.”
The mayor praised District residents’ response during the crisis.
“Thank you for heeding our call to stay at home,” she said. “You did your part to keep our city safe.”
However, Bowser said outgoing President Trump must be held accountable for his actions, noting that he “can do a lot of damage over two weeks.”
On Wednesday, thousands of participants in a nearby pro-Trump rally converged on the Capitol and interrupted Congress at it attempted to formally count the Electoral College votes for Biden’s victory. The president himself addressed the rally as Congress began the count, cajoling the crowd to head to the Capitol in protest.
Once the massive crowd reached the Capitol steps, many of them powered past police and made their way inside, smashing doors and windows while attempting to enter barricaded areas. The breech forced lawmakers to flee the chambers and delayed the electoral vote count for hours while authorities restored order.
Five people died during the siege, including Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she and others attempted to force their way into the House chamber. Another Capitol Police officer died from injuries sustained in the attack, and three others died as a result of medical emergencies.
The mayor extended a public emergency until after President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, but did not impose another curfew after ordering the streets cleared from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday in the wake of the violence.
U.S. Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said 6,200 National Guard members were mobilized for the event and would remain in place for the next 30 days to support the District’s police department. In addition to the D.C. National Guard, members from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York participated to control the melee.
McCarthy also said a 7-foot fence “non-scalable” fence will be built around the Capitol that will run along Constitution Avenue, Independence Avenue and First Street to the street that runs in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The fence will stay in place for 30 days, which includes the Biden inauguration on Jan. 20.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III commended the work of his officers during the incident, noting that the MPD assisted Capitol Police and came at the request of their chief.
“MPD covers the vibrant communities of Washington, D.C.,” he said. “We assisted the 2,000-member Capitol Police Department. We are their partners. We cover local D.C.”
Contee said 68 were arrested in connection with the incident, only one of whom was a city resident.
The MPD website has images of the participants in the Capitol takeover, which Contee encouraged people to view and alert the department if they recognize anyone.
The mayor recommended the Congress set up a commission to study the incident “so it will never happen again.”
Bowser also laid out what she wanted Democrats in the newly-sworn Congress to do about making the District the 51st state.
Bowser, who has long complained District mayors have no power to activate the D.C. National Guard, said the majority-Democrat Congress and the Biden administration should give her that power as well as pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act within the first 100 days of the new session.
The mayor expressed excitement about the election of Georgia Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate, noting they both support D.C. statehood.