‘An indelible stain on our democracy’ — Rep. Davids describes barricading herself in office as mob attacked U.S. Capitol

"It was one of the darkest days of modern American history," Rep. Sharice Davids told the Shawnee Mission Post Thursday. "And President Trump not only condoned it but encouraged it. He has demonstrated previously he’s not a good fit, but yesterday what we saw is someone who is wholly unfit to hold any public office." File photo.

Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas says she rode out Wednesday’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol in her underground office.

The two-term Democrat, who represents Johnson County in Congress, says she was not on the House floor when a crowd of pro-Trump extremists — egged on by the president at a nearby rally earlier Wednesday — stormed the Capitol complex in Washington, D.C.

The rioters ultimately breached the nation’s seat of government and rampaged throughout the building’s halls, offices and chambers, prompting a lockdown. CBS News reports at least four people died, including a woman who was shot and killed.

“We got the [Capitol-wide] security notification that there was a need to take precautions,” Davids told the Post in an interview Thursday, “and I essentially locked all of the doors in my office, put pieces of furniture in front of the main door. I was thinking that even if someone was able to come in that I’d be able to exit out a different door.”

Alone in her office

She says her staff had been working remotely Wednesday, so nobody else was in her office when shelter-in-place orders were given. She says she sat for hours in her office, alone for most of the time, as the mob made its way through and around the complex.

“I felt concerned for the welfare of my colleagues on the floor, their staffs, the journalists, the police trying to stop the people from coming in,” she said. “It was chaotic. The violence in and around the Capitol will be an indelible stain on our democracy.”

She says she felt thankful that in the Capitol’s mizzen of underground offices, hers is an internally facing one, meaning it cannot be directly accessed from a public area. She notes at one point, a fellow member of Congress who has an external-facing office, joined her in her office.

Davids had grabbed an emergency kit provided to all Congressional members’ offices, which includes a clear, plastic hood to don in case of a chemical attack. She held that nearby as she texted with colleagues and staffers to ensure they were safe.

“It felt unreal and surreal. I’m not even sure, looking back, I was feeling anything. I just kind of felt like I was in a time warp, focused on the steps I needed to take to stay safe and secure my office,” she said.

Reiterates calls for Trump to be removed from office

Davids on Thursday repeated calls she first made Wednesday night for President Trump to be removed from office before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Davids says Trump has an “enormous amount of culpability” for what happened yesterday.

“It was one of the darkest days of modern American history,” she said. “And President Trump not only condoned it but encouraged it. He has demonstrated previously he’s not a good fit, but yesterday what we saw is someone who is wholly unfit to hold any public office.”

“We can’t trust Trump to uphold his oath over the next 13 days,” she added. “Our security and our democracy is at stake.”

‘We saw democracy win yesterday’

Despite Wednesday’s violence, Davids says she remains optimistic about the future, even if she acknowledges great divisions remain in Washington.

“We saw democracy win yesterday,” she said. “Everything culminated with the House and Senate coming back into session, certifying the presidential election. And after all that, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be in sworn and we will move on.”

When asked if she can reconcile with her House colleagues — including the other three Republican Congressmen from Kansas — who voted against certifying Biden’s victory, even after Wednesday’s chaos, Davids said this:

“It was within their constitutional right to object to the certification. I strongly disagree with their opposition. Their opposition was supposed to be followed up with peaceful and lawful debate, which we saw on the House and Senate floor eventually. But we also saw so much more that was unacceptable yesterday. I don’t know if any of us have the answer for what cooperation looks like going forward, but I am optimistic we have the opportunity to grow now as a country.”