A West Virginia lawmaker who filmed himself and supporters of Donald Trump storming into the US Capitol has been widely condemned as federal prosecutors step up their pursuit of violent perpetrators.
State Delegate Derrick Evans was among several Republican lawmakers from across the country who travelled to Washington DC for demonstrations rooted in the baseless conspiracy theory that Democrat Joe Biden stole the presidential election.
Wearing a helmet, Mr Evans ultimately joined a screaming mob as it pushed its way into the Capitol building, and livestreamed himself joyfully strolling inside.
It is unclear if Mr Evans was the only elected official to participate in what Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many others called a “failed insurrection”.
Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano said he helped organise a bus trip to the demonstrations but left the US Capitol area after the eruption of violence, which he called “unacceptable”. A Democratic colleague called for his resignation nonetheless.
The Republican lawmaker told The Tennessean that she was “in the thick of it” but had not seen any violence.
Incoming Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black, a Republican, said she marched from the White House to the US Capitol, where she saw men on megaphones revving the crowd to storm the security barrier. She said she retreated to avoid being associated with the mob.
“We all had a choice when that fence came down,” she said. “Whether it was our group that incited that to happen or another group, every single person had the choice to make.”
Arizona state Representative Mark Finchem posted photos of himself attending the protest outside the Capitol, but his office said he observed from afar. Liberal groups in the state want him expelled for backing the effort to overturn the election.
Mr Hill described a rally held by Mr Trump, who urged supporters to march to the Capitol, as “very peaceful”,
“But what I saw at the Capitol was not the same people,” he said. “I wasn’t there rallying troops to overthrow the government.”
The president of the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Jessica Post, said “any Republican legislator who took part in yesterday’s insurrection, in Washington, DC, or anywhere else in the country, should resign immediately”.
“Yesterday was a stain on our country’s history and a dangerous affront to democracy — all those involved have no place making laws,” Ms Post said.