Assault on US Capitol: Sherrod Brown blasts Trump, mob, police response

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. PHOTO/MICHAEL D. PITMAN
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. PHOTO/MICHAEL D. PITMAN

While American school children have been doing active shooter drills for years, members of Congress lacked similar emergency training about what to do during a lockdown, said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who evacuated the Senate chamber on Wednesday.

“We all think this isn’t going to happen to us,” Brown said. “We are not especially trained to respond to things like that. I think there will be more efforts to do that now. Lessons may have been learned but that remains to be seen.”

The Cleveland Democrat said his first inkling that something was happening came when U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney was told he couldn’t leave the chamber and then Vice President Mike Pence was whisked away by the sergeant at arms.

“We were debating. We had no idea this riot was taking place, this insurrection, inside the building,” Brown said.

After 30 minutes locked in the Senate chamber, everyone was escorted to the Senate Hart Office Building where they could turn on a television to see the rioting.

In a press call on Friday, Brown reiterated his call for Pence and the Trump cabinet to remove the president by invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, calling it a matter of national security. Absent that impeachment is an option, he said.

ExploreSherrod Brown joins Democrats calling for Trump's removal

Brown also drew a sharp contrast between the heavy, militaristic police response to racial justice protesters at the Lincoln Memorial last summer and the less robust response at the U.S. Capitol; he called for answers from law enforcement and intelligence officials for answers.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, on Friday said he’ll call for hearings on security failures after the mob stormed the Capitol and interrupted the formal count of the Electoral College votes.

The lockdown, which lasted 4.5 hours, included 75 senators and staff members in a room at the Hart Building. The informal conversations ranged from whether the 25th Amendment should be invoked to what policies senators wanted to pursue on the banking and agriculture committees, Brown said.

“And just discussion of what is going to happen to our country: How do we fix this? And how do we disabuse the 30% of the Trump voters, of the electorate, that think that the election of Joe Biden was illegitimate? That has got to be fixed and we need Republican senators to stand up and help fix that by speaking out,” Brown said.

ExplorePresident Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration

Brown said he encountered four apparent rioters while stopping for gas in Pennsylvania on his drive back to Ohio.

“They were all bragging to each other about how they broke security and got in the building. I was tempted to identify myself and say, ‘You know, what you did was committing a felony.’ But I just didn’t know if they had guns. I wasn’t interested in fighting with anybody like that.”

In Other News