Republican lawmakers waiting in a room during Wednesday's Capitol Hill protests refused to wear masks triggering criticism on social media. A widely circulated video showed the lawmakers seated in a packed room, where they were escorted from the protesters that stormed inside the government building.
In the video, obtained by Punchbowl News, Democrat Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester can be seen carrying a bundle of masks and walking up to the lawmakers. When she offered them the masks, they refused to wear one. The lawmakers were Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is known for promoting QAnon conspiracies, Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Scott Perry (R-PA), Michael Cloud (R-TX), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). However, others — including police officers — were seen with their masks on.
Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed into the Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 election win. Videos showed chaotic scenes at the government building, where protesters forcefully entered, broke windows and clashed with the police. The violence led to the death of five people, including one police officer.
So far, at least 80 people have been arrested in connection with protests. Investigators in Washington D.C. said they received more than 17,000 tips related to the violence. The FBI is offering a reward of up to USD 50,000 for information leading to the arrest of a protester responsible for planting pipe bombs at the Capitol building.
On Friday, West Virginia Republican lawmaker Derrick Evans was charged with entering a restricted area of the Capitol. Evans filmed himself barging into the building during the protests along with other protesters.
Reacting to Evans' arrest, his family friend Wayne Williamson said: "Derrick made a bad choice but I think some of that choice was brought on by some of the people that were poking and gouging. Derrick's now in trouble and those people are going to be sitting at home watching it on TV and it really (upsets me) that my friend is going to be in trouble."
Following Wednesday's violence, Twitter permanently banned Trump "the risk of further incitement of violence." The move was criticised by his supporters and conservatives.