Rep. Dwight Evans had a view of the U.S. Capitol from his office across the street as he watched a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters breach the building on Wednesday.
“You feel like you’ve been invaded,” Evans said Thursday as he reflected on the previous day’s chaos.
A sleep-deprived Evans spoke during a telephone interview from his Washington, D.C., office. Philadelphia’s only Black congressman had yet to sleep after Congress worked through the early hours of the morning to certify Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ election victory.
The third-term Democrat said Congress needs to ensure a full assessment of how the mob was able to breach the Capitol and accountability for those responsible.
The chaos revealed a double standard of policing, too, Evans said. While Black Lives Matter protesters were met with an overwhelming show of force, which included the use of chemical weapons, this summer in the capital and cities across the country, the largely white pro-Trump mob was met with little police resistance.
“There’s no question there was a difference in how I view it was treated,” Evans said.
After casting a vote inside the Capitol in the election certification process Wednesday, Evans and two of his staff members returned to his office across the street. As a debate over a challenge to a state’s electoral votes was kicking off in both chambers, some members of Congress were not present due to coronavirus precautions.
When the mob breached the Capitol, Evans said, he and his staff sheltered in place in his office. Evans counted himself “very lucky” for not being inside the Capitol at that time.
As the rioters were inside the Capitol, the congressman watched the activity from his office window and coverage on television. Evans said he worried about his colleagues inside the Capitol and communicated with some via text messaging.
“I was rather shocked that this could occur,” he said. “What went through my mind was, What is happening here? What is going on? In a sense, where is the police in terms of being on top of it?”
Evans said it was important that Congress certified the election results after the Capitol was secured so legislators can move on to significant issues including the pandemic.
“Even though this disruption occurred, we still have to do our job,” Evans said.
Evans blamed Trump for inciting the mob and said the most disturbing part of the deadly riot was Trump’s gamesmanship and lack of leadership.
“He basically added to the problem,” Evans said. “He needs to go.”
On Thursday afternoon, Evans joined Democratic leadership in calling for Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office and install Pence as president. Evans also pledged to be an original co-sponsor of a new resolution to impeach Trump that a Democratic lawmaker was circulating.