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Massachusetts U.S. Rep. McGovern recalls experience inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 one year ago

House Rules Committee chairman Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., speaks at the impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump in 2019.
via AP
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U.S. House Television
House Rules Committee chairman Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., speaks at the impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump in 2019.

A Massachusetts Congressman who was at the rostrum overseeing proceedings of the U.S.House at the time of the riot a year ago on January 6, 2021 says he had no idea at the time how serious the threat was. Congressman Jim McGovern says he didn’t realize Speaker Nancy Peolosi had been moved to another location.

My daughter, Molly was texting me,’ Are you OK? Why are you there?’ I couldn't quite understand the context of the text because I didn't have access to a TV,” McGovern told And Another Thing, ”I just assumed it was one or two people that got past the guards. And then we went back in the session and then a minute later I was told you better close the session. It's now no longer safe for you to be here. You're going to have to clear the chamber.

McGovern spent hours in a hiding place with fellow house members, both Republicans and Democrats unsure exactly what was happening. He says he became more emotional once the attack was over and he saw blood on a floor and some of the damage, as he headed back to the house chamber.

I was sad at what I saw and went back into the chamber, and I had perhaps naively believed that after all this violence and all this chaos, that people would come together,” McGovern said, “I was I was in the Capitol on September 11th when we were attacked, and I remember, after that horrific incident, Democrats, Republicans actually stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang God Bless America. I thought something like that would happen. And instead, when we got back, a handful of Republicans continued to challenge the results, continued to embrace this big lie that somehow this election was not legitimate.”

McGovern acknowledges partisan divides have grown wider. He says he respects legitimate political differences of opinion with Republican colleagues but refuses to allow anyone to make excuses for what happened that day.

To cover it up, to try to diminish it. It tells me you're a rotten person. What kind of contempt do you have for the Constitution, for the institution?” McGovern told And Another Thing.