Veterans in Congress from both sides of the aisle called the mob that took over the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday "domestic terrorism" and blamed President Donald Trump for promoting it.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a former Army Ranger, said he had been prepared to use a pen as a weapon of last resort to defend himself and other House members against attackers.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel who lost both legs in Iraq, said on Twitter, "I have spent my entire adult life defending our Constitution and people's rights to peacefully demonstrate. I never thought I'd need to defend democracy from an attempted, violent overthrow in our own nation's Capitol."
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL lieutenant commander who lost an eye in Afghanistan, tweeted as Trump supporters swarmed into the Capitol building and strolled the halls triumphantly: "Stop this bull---t now!"
He said what disturbed him most was the sight of rioters waving the American flag "as if this were some kind of patriotic duty."
"I want the president himself to get on the ground and actually tell people to stop. You gotta man up," Crenshaw said Wednesday on Twitter.
Crow, a former Army captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, described "going into Ranger mode" as he and several other House members were caught behind as the House chamber was being evacuated.
On Twitter and later on CNN, Crow said he helped stack furniture to barricade the doors. "If that didn't work, I directed the other members to remove their [congressional] pins so they weren't identifiable. I had a pen in my pocket I could use as a weapon," he said.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a former Marine captain who served four tours in Iraq, tweeted as the rioters overran the Capitol Police.
"We are being told to shelter in place not because of a foreign terrorist attack but because of a domestic coup attempt," he wrote. "I expected this as a US Marine in Iraq. I never imagined it as a U.S. Congressman in America."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was possibly the most outspoken among the veterans in Congress who put the blame for Wednesday's events on Trump.
In a tweet Wednesday, Kinzinger wrote, "Anybody that calls themselves a Republican like myself should be very ashamed right now."
On Thursday, Kinzinger called Trump "unfit and unwell" and urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., a Green Beret and Army reserve lieutenant colonel who served in Afghanistan, said of the rioting in a series of tweets: "This is despicable. This is not who we are as a country. I don't care what your ideology is, enough is enough."
Late Wednesday, as Congress prepared to resume the vote certifying that former Vice President Joe Biden had defeated Trump in the election, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., a former Navy lieutenant and helicopter pilot, tweeted a determined message:
"I'm in the cloakroom right now," she said. "We're going to certify this election according to our Constitutional duties and democracy will prevail."
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.