As supporters of President Donald J. Trump stormed into the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly appealed for calm.
"We know there is a lot of anger over this election and what’s happening in America, but this is not who we are," said Kelly, a Republican backer of the president, in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "We resolve our disputes peacefully under the rule of law. This must stop now."
Kelly said he and his staff were unhurt, and credited Capitol police for their quick action to keep him and other elected officials safe.
Hours earlier, on Wednesday morning, Kelly, R-16, Butler, expressed support for the pro-Trump marchers.
"I think it's awesome," Kelly said. "I think they're absolutely phenomenal."
Kelly said in the morning that he didn't expect the pro-Trump demonstration to be near Capitol Hill.
However, a mob of rioters broke into the Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon as members of the U.S. House of Representatives — including Kelly, R-16, Butler, who represents Mercer County in the House — and Senate convened to ratify results of the Electoral College vote in the final step of President-elect Joe Biden's election.
The rioters outnumbered police, broke windows and a woman was fatally shot, according to reports from the scene.
Wednesday's demonstration, which turned into a riot, had been planned for weeks as a last-ditch "Stop the Steal" event, the name for a movement to overturn Biden's victory, which Trump and his supporters claimed was illegitimate.
Democrats blamed Trump for encouraging violence among the mob assembled Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Kelly predicted that the demonstrators would receive less media sympathy than Black Lives Matter protests last summer and fall.
"If you want to see a double standard, you watch how these things are covered," said the six-term congressman.
As an example, he cited a protest Monday outside the home of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. Hawley, who had said he planned to file official objections Wednesday to electoral votes for Biden.
The Associated Press reported that Hawley said protesters stormed his house while he wasn't home and threatened his wife and newborn daughter. Hawley was in Washington at the time.
“Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel,” Hawley wrote on Twitter. “They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence.”
Police said the protest was peaceful and never threatened Hawley's wife and daughter, the Associated Press reported. No arrests were made.
Kelly said he didn't think the protest at Hawley's home was benign.
"Those were just friendly people. They just wanted to see the baby, maybe drop off a baby gift," he said sarcastically.