WASHINGTON – As a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters pounded on the House chamber’s doorways immediately after breaching protection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Dallas Rep. Colin Allred – a hulk of a guy who as soon as played in the NFL – took off his jacket and tie.
“I was well prepared for whichever may well appear,” he explained.
The 2nd-time period Democrat then texted his wife, Aly, who was at home with their 23-thirty day period outdated son, Jordan.
“Whatever takes place, I love you,” he wrote.
She texted back again, “I adore you, much too.”
With the glass starting to shatter on doors barricaded by furnishings, Allred and his colleagues – with gas masks in hand – had been evacuated from the Dwelling flooring and whisked to an undisclosed location, where by they stayed as regulation enforcement sought to get back command of the Capitol.
One particular of the previous issues Allred remembers observing in the chamber was Capitol law enforcement officers drawing their guns.
“It was significantly worse than any image can relay,” he explained in an job interview with The Dallas Morning News, calling it “one of the most shameful items in American history.” “Far, significantly even worse, and considerably, considerably far more dangerous. This was pretty shut to being severe violence.”
Allred was among the those people thrust into the epicenter of one particular of the most tumultuous times in fashionable U.S. background, as lawmakers ended up forced to flee from the quite coronary heart of American democracy as the Capitol arrived below siege from rioters offended about the presidential election.
The day was anticipated to be tense. But this was the worst-scenario situation.
Congress achieved in a joint session to rely the Electoral Higher education votes that sent the White Residence to President-elect Joe Biden. A group of Republicans planned to item to the accredited success in key swing states, pursuing Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him.
Just before the session began, Trump told his supporters at a rally on the Nationwide Shopping mall to march on the Capitol.
“We’re heading to stroll down … to the Capitol, and we are likely to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women of all ages,” the president explained. “And we’re in all probability not heading to be cheering so significantly for some of them. For the reason that you will under no circumstances take back again our region with weak point.”
The activities at the Capitol initially played out as envisioned. Vice President Mike Pence presided. The counting commenced. Republicans objected to the outcomes in Arizona. The Dwelling and the Senate split aside for two several hours of discussion. Allred was on the Property floor as a member of Democratic leadership.
Then a mob collected exterior the Capitol and finally broke in.
Allred and many others were tracking the reviews, significantly as the Property developing that includes Allred’s business was purchased to lock down. The whole horror of the predicament turned apparent as soon as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top rated leaders had been quickly eliminated from the chamber, Allred said.
“We could listen to screams,” he claimed. “We could listen to banging.”
Tear fuel was deployed in the Capitol rotunda, so the get came down for lawmakers to ready gasoline masks that are stored beneath their seats. Allred served some his colleagues just take out their masks as Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Maritime Corps veteran, provided instruction.
“When you set your mask on, breathe little by little or you are going to hyperventilate,” Gallego said, according to Allred.
Other Texans, in the meantime, sprang into action.
Freshman Rep. Troy Nehls, a Richmond Republican and the former Fort Bend County sheriff, joined Capitol law enforcement who were being trying to avoid the mob from moving into the Dwelling chamber. So did a group of other freshman Texas Republicans, Sherman Rep. Pat Fallon recalled on Facebook.
Among the them were being Amarillo Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Navy veteran, and San Antonio Rep. Tony Gonzales, also a Navy veteran.
“We broke off home furniture to make clubs to defend the US Dwelling of Reps,” Fallon, an Air Force veteran who performed football at Notre Dame, wrote on Fb. “There was seen worry on everyone’s faces and nonetheless we stood our ground.”
All of the lawmakers ended up finally cleared to security from the House chamber.
Allred, as he and some others exited by way of a tunnel, observed one of the Residence parliamentarians carrying historic paraphernalia from the speaker’s rostrum – “priceless heirlooms of our democracy,” he reported – to “make absolutely sure they did not get ruined.”
“I just cannot definitely worry adequate how inviolable the Dwelling floor is meant to be,” he reported. “It’s a area of debate. It’s a location of democracy. It’s a place in which, certainly, we have disagreements. It’s not a location of violence.”
He extra, “There are no phrases that I can say to categorical how sad I am for our state currently.”
Allred pinned the violence on Trump, accusing the president of possessing “incited a coup” by encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol. The Texan explained it all as an “attempt to overthrow our governing administration, and I really don’t say that lightly – it is treason and sedition.”
The lawmaker did not solid the very same blame at customers of Congress, including numerous Texans, who objected to the electoral outcomes.
“I’m not going to go that much,” Allred mentioned. “People have a proper to item. I disagree strongly. It is anti-democratic what they are accomplishing, but at the very least most of the kinds that I’ve spoken with and know, I did not see them contacting for direct violence.”
When Allred arrived at safety on Wednesday, his first phone was to his wife. She experienced turned on cartoons back at home. D.C. was filled with the sound of sirens and their toddler was frightened. His wife was “trying to retain him quiet,” Allred mentioned.
As for the lawmaker himself?
“I’m not frightened, I’m not concerned,” he reported. “I’m likely to go back again on to the Property flooring as shortly as they get the Capitol cleared, and we’re heading to keep on to do our duty. Due to the fact they are not heading to quit us from our democracy.”