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N.H. Reacts To Pro-Trump Mobs, Chaos In U.S. Capitol

Andrew Harnik / AP
New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster evacuates the U.S. House Chamber amid riots by pro-Trump mobs in the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021.

New Hampshire’s top elected officials condemned the storming of the U.S. Capitol complex by pro-Trump extremists Wednesday.

The four members of the state’s congressional delegation were all evacuated from the Capitol or adjacent buildings as mobs interrupted the tallying of electoral votes to formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Rep. Chris Pappas, a Democrat who represents New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

“There is going to be plenty of time to talk about how we got to this day,” Pappas said. “I think it is very clear: there are consequences to stoking these kinds of wild, debunked conspiracy theories.”

“I think the president’s behavior today, and leading up to this day, needs to be condemned,” Pappas said. “Earlier today, just a few hours ago, he incited this crowd, and we are now dealing with the consequences of that.”

Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat who represents the state's 2nd Congressional District, was evacuated from the U.S. House chamber as the pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol. She described having to scramble out of the building while wearing an emergency gas mask.

Listen to N.H. Congresswoman Annie Kuster talk with NHPR's Peter Biello about the events at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

“It’s one thing to be partisan and proud," Kuster said. "And there are moments that I am partisan and proud of the Democratic party. But it is a whole other thing to incite violence against your country.”

Kuster added that her Republican colleagues have a "decision to make."

"Are they with our country going forward? And I think those are the conversations I want to have with my colleagues, and encourage them that our democracy is worth saving,” she said.

New Hampshire’s two U.S. senators were also evacuated. Sen. Maggie Hassan said on Twitter that she and her staff were sheltering in place Wednesday afternoon.

“This insurrection will not deter Congress from certifying the election — our democracy depends on it,” Hassan said.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said on Twitter that she and her staff were unharmed: “We will not be stopped from doing our Constitutional duty.”

Gov. Chris Sununu, who supported Trump in the 2020 election, condemned the violence on Twitter as well.

“What is going on at the United States Capitol Building is not Democracy, it is chaos and violence. It is un-American, and must stop immediately.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, about a dozen backers of the president gathered at the New Hampshire State House in Concord. 

They waved flags, and a few carried guns on the State House plaza. Wayne Tardif of Sanbornton said he was aware what was going on in at the U.S. Capitol, hoped it would end peacefully, but doubted it would.

"There ain’t much we can do about it standing here, and certainly it’s not going to get us to the point where we are going get all fired up and jump into a vehicle and go down there anywhere," said Tardif. "But it’s going to hit the fan. It’s at that point."

The pro-Trump demonstrators in Concord were mostly calm, even as they traded insults when heckled by passers-by.

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