WASHINGTON — Tensions on Capitol Hill boiled over in the early hours of Thursday morning when a Democrat and a Republican lawmaker nearly got into a fist fight on the House floor and had to be separated by their colleagues.
Unbowed lawmakers returned to the chamber at 9 p.m. to continue a vote on President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory which was dramatically interrupted by pro-Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol in a violent riot that left a woman shot dead.
According to accounts from reporters in the room, Republicans became angry around 2 a.m. as Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania gave a speech claiming the violence was inspired by GOP “lies” about the election outcome.
“The members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves. Their constituents should be ashamed of them!” Lamb said.
Republicans objected to the language but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) moved on.
A confrontation subsequently broke out in the background between GOP Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), a 63-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, and Democratic Rep. Colin Allred of Texas, a 37-year-old former NFL footballer.
“He called me a liar!” Harris yelled in the chamber, according to an account by HuffPost reporter Matt Fuller.
PBS reporter Lisa Desjardins said she witnessed Harris also taunting Democrats before a fight broke out between Harris and Allred.
Dozens of lawmakers could be seen rushing to their feet in C-SPAN footage of the incident as Pelosi hopelessly banged her gavel in an attempt to break up the fight.
The men were separated by a Capitol staffer and eventually returned to their seats before exhausted lawmakers finally confirmed Biden’s win at 3.40 a.m.
Members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence were forced to evacuate on Wednesday afternoon when thousands of the president’s supporters unhappy with the election overpowered Capitol Police and stormed the building.
Rioters managed to flood the building and made it to the doors of the House of Representatives where lawmakers were sheltering inside — leading to a tense armed standoff.
One woman was shot dead in the melee while several homemade explosive devices were found.
Thousands of supporters of the president had descended on Washington for a raucous rally earlier Wednesday outside the White House, where Trump delivered a fiery speech in which he repeated his claim that the election was rigged against him.
Reps. Andy Harris, Colin Allred nearly get in fist fight during vote on Joe Biden win The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.