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Former Rep. Rob Bishop, Staffer React To US Capitol Chaos

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters interact with Capitol Police inside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Three days after his term ended, the halls of the U.S. Capitol that Rep. Rob Bishop has known for 18 years erupted into chaos.

“This is disheartening,” said Bishop, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Jan. 3, 2003, to Jan. 3, 2021. “To treat the capitol in such a cavalier way, it is simply so wrong. It defies explanation. It defies words,” he said over the phone.

“It brought to mind symbols of violence we had in Salt Lake this summer that were taking place at places that were very familiar to me and I took very personally,” Bishop added.

Bishop’s former director of communications watched the scenes play out on TV in disbelief.

“As I saw protesters moving through that hallway, having walked that same floor, countless, hundreds if not thousands of times in the past, my heart broke. It’s a sacred place,” said Lee Lonsberry, who worked at the U.S. Capitol for five years before moving to Utah to become the host of Live Mic on KSL NewsRadio.

Lonsberry was in contact with delegates and staffers in D.C. who headed for the exits.

“Those fears are real. I’ve had conversations with folks throughout the day today who were barricading the doors to the hallway and hearing pounds on the other side of that door,” he said.

The riot put an abrupt pause on the count. And just like that, the electoral vote count that typically goes unnoticed every four years stole headlines across the country and around the world.

“It’s an attack figuratively on democracy. And it is an attack literally on those who sustain her,” Lonsberry said.

But hours later, lawmakers were back inside, continuing what’s turned into a controversial count and their responsibility to the Constitution.

“The president does have a responsibility to set a tone and he needs to make sure he’s very forceful in condemning this kind of activity, this kind of violence,” Bishop said. “But to be honest he’s not alone in either the culpability or the responsibility.”

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