6 THE QUEENS COURIER • JANUARY 14, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Meng said ‘bye’ to family while barricaded during Capitol invasion
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
One day aft er supporters of President
Donald Trump rioted and invaded the
Capitol building in Washington, D.C.,
as members of the House and Senate
were in the process of counting the electoral
votes that certifi ed President-elect
Joe Biden’s win, Queens Congresswoman
Grace Meng recalled the day’s events during
a conversation with QNS.
Speaking from her apartment in D.C.
aft er leaving the Capitol around 3:30 a.m.
on Th ursday, Jan. 7, Meng said she feels
“fi ne” now, but said she was “very nervous
when everything was happening.”
“Aft er the Capitol police rescued us, I
felt much better,” Meng told QNS.
Meng, who represent Queens’ Sixth
Congressional District, had to barricade
herself in a side offi ce of the Capitol building
when hundreds of pro-Trump rioters
began to approach the entrance. At
around 1:30 p.m., she said she received
alerts about one of the Capitol’s three
buildings being evacuated.
Meng said she was worried, as she knew
“the public wasn’t supposed to be in the
buildings.” She then got another warning
to stay away from windows and doors,
and to shelter in place.
Within minutes, she began to feel afraid.
“I heard a lot of thumping coming from
outside … then I saw on TV that they
were starting to march right outside our
door,” said Meng, who added she could
growing hear chants coming from outside
the building. “I didn’t know if they had
weapons or if they were peaceful.”
Meng immediately turned off the lights,
turned the TV on mute and put her phone
“I was still afraid they’d fi nd me or come
in,” she said, so she decided to push chairs
in front of the door, with a gas mask on
Meng said she was just 20 feet from where
a woman who was with the pro-Trump rioters
breached the building was shot. It was
later confi rmed the woman died.
Th roughout the ordeal, Meng said
she was in contact with her family and
friends via text messages as they saw the
chaos unfold on the news, but she wasn’t
comfortable speaking on the phone
because she didn’t want the rioters to
Meng said that aft er an hour and a half,
none of the rioters broke into the offi ce
where she was sheltered, as Capitol police
with, help from the National Guard and
FBI, eventually secured the building.
She was relieved, as she didn’t know
“how successful” her barricade would
When asked whether she would have
expected anything like what occurred on
Wednesday to take place in what many
people consider the safest place in the
country, she said “not at all.”
“I had no training at all,” Meng said,
But aft er hours of rioting delayed the
certifi cation of votes — a routine and
ceremonial function aft er the Electoral
College offi cially elected Biden — both
the House and Senate returned to offi -
cially begin the transition of power.
Meng said she doesn’t believe
Congress’ role is to overturn votes made
“It’s important that we let Americans
voice their decisions at the ballot box,”
she said. “Last time Hilary Clinton lost,
she was my candidate, and I didn’t like
that she lost, but I accepted it. I represent
Democrats, Republicans and everyone
in between. But at the end of the day,
I don’t believe Congress has the right to
However, one troubling aspect of the
chaos that ensued on Wednesday was
the response from Capitol police. On
Twitter, Meng said she’d seen a much bigger
police presence months prior during
Black Lives Matter protests.
“I’ve never been scared for my life during
BLM protests, I was terrifi ed for my
life today,” she wrote in a tweet. “I said
‘bye’ to family & friends & I’m still hiding.”
Meng arrived at the Capitol early in
the morning in order to beat crowds and
traffi c, and was momentarily worried
about the unusual police presence.
“But I left it up to maybe me being
there so early in the morning, since no
one was supposed to protest till later in
the day,” she said. “From what I’ve seen
on socials and TV, offi cers seemed to get
overwhelmed and rioters were able to
Meng, a member of the House
Appropriations Committee, which funds
the Capitol Police, said they’re launching
an investigation into the security breach
as some of her fellow Congress members
have asked for a full and transparent
review of proceedings.
“I’ve been in Congress for a few years
now. I’ve seen so many protests and large
gatherings all the time, the most recent
being the BLM protests,” she said. “It
seems that every other large gathering
have had a strong showing of police offi -
cers with barricades up far away from the
Capitol building’s entrance. Th ey didn’t
seem to have a strong presence yesterday.”
Meng joined several Queens lawmakers
in calling for the immediate removal
of Trump from offi ce, stating he “incited
yesterday’s chaos, violence, and destruction
at the U.S. Capitol.”
Photos courtesy of Meng’s offi ce
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