WASHINGTON D.C. (ABC4 News) – Utah’s congressional representatives and their staff members had to scramble to safety when those protestors stormed the Capitol building Wednesday. 

3rd District Representative John Curtis spoke to ABC4 News while sheltering in place at an undisclosed location in the Capitol area. For security purposes, he used a virtual background of his home office for a Zoom interview.

Rep. Curtis was in his office, preparing to go vote on election certification when those protestors breached the Capitol building.

“It was surreal. You heard things like ‘Get under the seats…’. There’s gas masks in the chambers that are prepared for such things,” Rep. Curtis said. “When those orders were given out, you know that this…this is not just a drill.”

Once he and his staff were in a secured location, he watched the events unfold on television.

“It really has to break your heart. It has to break every Americans’ heart to see what happened today,” Rep. Curtis said. “As I’m watching the news reports, I can only think I’m watching something like Venezuela or something where there is no law and order. I just count on every American, especially myself to step up and stop this. It’s insane. It’s inappropriate. It’s got to be stopped.”

Back here in Utah, Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics Jason Perry said Wednesday’s violent interruption doesn’t help any party or candidate.

“I, for one, have seen so many people engage in protests over the past year and they’ve been peaceful and they’ve been impactful. Those are the kinds of protests we want to see more of,” Perry told ABC4 News. “When it starts to become something that strikes at the institutions, the buildings themselves, it becomes violent, people get hurt and you start destroying property, that’s sort of where the end of the productive part of the protest is and we start just seeing it devolve into something else. We need to start disagreeing in much better ways.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Curtis and his staff remained sequestered Wednesday afternoon wondering when they’d be able to leave.

“We have not been given evacuation plans,” Rep. Curtis said. “We literally were talking with my staff just a minute ago that ‘What does this look like in 24 hours?’ and I’m starting to think along those lines that it may not be quick because quite frankly I’m not sure where they would evacuate us to or how they would evacuate us. Just in the House side, there’s 435 members and our staff and over on the Senate side and staffs we’re talking hundreds and hundreds of people.”

Rep. Curtis called President Donald Trump’s rhetoric at a rally Wednesday morning “disappointing” and he called on the President to tell his supporters to stop the violence.

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