NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee lawmakers called for peace Wednesday afternoon after protests broke out at the U.S. Capitol.
The building was locked down as violent protests broke out following a reported clash between President Donald Trump supporters and police. Lawmakers were meeting and were expected to declare Joe Biden’s victory.
Governor Bill Lee denounced the violent protests and called the situation “inexcusable.”
“The violence happening in our nation’s capitol is inexcusable and an affront to our founding principles and freedoms, Lee tweeted. “I stand with our Tennessee delegation that order must be restored immediately and thank law enforcement for their professionalism.”
Amid the unrest, Tennessee Representative Mark Green tweeted “We are a country of law and order—this violence is UNACCEPTABLE. Pray for our nation’s Capitol Police and law enforcement officers.” He said he and his staff were safe inside the U.S. Capitol.
Senator Bill Hagerty also reacted to the protests, tweeting “I have always believed in peaceful protesting. What is happening at the U.S. Capitol right now is not peaceful, this is violence. I condemn it in the strongest terms. We are a nation of laws and this must stop.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn called the protests “despicable” and “unacceptable” and said demonstrators were disrupting the democratic process.
Representative David Kustoff also reported himself safe while denouncing the violence.
Representative Steve Cohen had harsh words for the president, calling him an enemy of the country. He reported having to wear a gas mask while making his way to his office.
Representative Jim Cooper also said he was safe and told News 2 he was barricaded in his office.
Representative Chuck Fleischmann and said peaceful protests were protected by the First Amendment, but the demonstrations in D.C. were not peaceful.
Speaker Cameron Sexton also pointed out the protests were not a peaceful assembly.
Representative Steve Cohen released a statement Wednesday evening.
“I blame Donald Trump for this entire episode,” Rep. Cohen said. “He has continually pushed the false idea that the election he lost by seven million votes was ‘stolen’ from him. As recently as last Saturday, he urged the Georgia Secretary of State to ‘find’ the votes he needed to win that state. Trump’s sixty lawsuits, claiming without evidence that irregularities and fraud explained his loss, have been denied, including by Republican and Trump-appointed judges, and his arguments for a victory have gone from bizarre to delusional. After today’s invasion of the Capitol, he must be stopped. We are not safe as a country until this man is out of office.”
Beyond Tennessee, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear released a video statement and called the protesters “domestic terrorists.”
“If you’ve been standing with and riling up militia members across this commonwealth or this country, shame on you. There is blame there for you. We’ve got to be better,” Beshear said.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called for election reform during the protests.
After protests broke out, President Trump released a video that called for demonstrators to “go home and go home in peace.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a curfew for D.C. from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday.