WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s a moment many thought the country would never see.
As rioters laid siege to the Capitol on Wednesday, two Texas Congressmen well-known to Texoma went into fight or flight mode in order to protect themselves and their offices.
A massive crowd descended on Washington, D.C. to support President Trump and his mission to overturn the results of the November election.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas, District 13) attended the event before going to the Hill to challenge the electoral college votes. However, as the House debated, a ruckus outside the Chamber caught the eye of newly sworn-in Congressmen Jackson and Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas, District 04).
“I knew right away it wasn’t a bomb threat because when there’s a bomb threat you don’t lock people inside the chamber and post people with weapons inside the doors,” Jackson said.
The former White House physician said he knew immediately that someone had breached security and they were inside the building.
“Then we hear some noise and they come back on the microphone the Capitol Police and scream, “They have breached. They are in National Statuary Hall now,” Fallon said. “Statuary Hall is very close to where we actually meet and we’re thinking how does this happen.”
In the House, members rushed for cover, some in gas masks.
“Then all of the sudden we heard a lot of yelling and a lot of loud noise outside, ” Jackson said. “There was all kind of commotion and then you could hear a ‘pop, pop, pop, pop’ and they were like everybody get your gas masks. We may have to evacuate in a second. Tear gas is being deployed in the Capitol.”
As the mob broke in through the windows, swarming the building, they made their way through the first floor of the Capitol, up the stairs, and approached the Chambers.
As some lawmakers evacuated, it turned into survival mode for Jackson, Fallon, and a few members of the Texas and Oklahoma delegations who stayed behind to protect the house.
“Several of us just started picking up furniture and piling it in front of the door to try and stop them from coming through and we were actually going to extremes,” Jackson said. “We took some podiums that were in there and some chairs, broke the legs off of them so we could use them as weapons because for all practical purposes we didn’t have anywhere to go and it looked like they were going to be entering the chamber at any minute.”
Fallon said when he saw this, he knew he couldn’t leave his brothers behind.
“I went over and there was a hand sanitizer [station],” Fallon said. “It came off remarkably easy. I just put my foot down and just ripped it off and then took the jagged edge and faced [forward] and we were able to either poke or slam.”
Fallon said at this point, it was all about ‘protecting the House.’
“Rep Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) said, “I’m going to be the last person that leaves this chamber,” Fallon said. “Then Ronny says, ‘Then I’m not going anywhere. Then Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) and Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) looked back and nodded reassuringly.”
That’s when Fallon admits getting emotional.
“It’s that look you get where we’re all in this and that’s when I really started to welling up because I am surrounded by lions and I started welling up with tears because of the bravery and the selflessness that I was surrounded by. There was an ocean of it.”
Then, they heard what sounded like gunshots
“We were waiting for them to come in with the legs of these tables and stuff that we broke off and about that time I heard a “pop, pop, pop, pop” and the glass started shattering and I think shots were being fired into the glass and that’s when several people including myself just yelled “shots fired!” and we just kind of hit the ground.
Luckily, Capitol Police were finally able to get members and staff into a safe, undisclosed location before rioters breached the Chambers, ransacking the hallowed halls.
Some protesters became looters, turning the Capitol inside out. A select group gain access to the Senate floor and others managed to get inside the offices of lawmakers.
“I don’t know who these people are,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what their motives are. I don’t really care at this point. I think we will be able to identify them. As far as I am concerned, they are domestic terrorists and this is not, not how we handle things in this country.”
“We don’t need to have this go any further,” Fallon said. “We need to call it out for what it was. I don’t love or respect the lawbreakers from Wednesday because they hijacked the folks, the main majority of people who came all the way to Washington, D.C. to express their opinion and exercise their first amendment rights.”
Jackson and Fallon said from here they hope Congress can turn a page and use this as inspiration to work together on policies that will better not only Texans but Americans. However, there are lessons that should be learned.
“It can’t happen again and then from our chamber’s standpoint we need to unite when we can and when we disagree don’t be disagreeable.”
Both men did formally object to electoral college votes when Congress resumed debate Wednesday night. However, Fallon said that now that it’s over, he hopes President Trump will be cooperative as the transition of power begins.
Brittney Cottingham, Curtis Jackson and Brandon Cooper contributed to this story.