Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, offered Newsmax TV a staggering response when asked if he had ever seen anything such as Wednesday's riot at the U.S. Capitol.
"Just in Iraq and Afghanistan," Jackson told host Sean Spicer on Thursday's Spicer & Co. "That's what was so horrible about yesterday. That was not supposed to happen in this country.
"People, brave Americans, have died in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect the ability for us to meet on the floor of the House and have civil debate about issues, and that was taken away from us yesterday."
Jackson, an M.D., is a retired rear admiral in the United States Navy. He retired from the military in 2019 after 25 years of active service. He once served with a combat surgical shock trauma platoon in Iraq — an experience he might have been reminded of right before escaping the House chamber on Wednesday.
"Some projectiles were coming through the window, knocking the glass out," Jackson said after rioters protesting Joe Biden's election victory stormed the Capitol building. "At that point, that's when the Capitol police, the few that were in there with us, decided it was better off to take our chances and go out the other side."
Jackson said he "did not see this coming," largely because he walked through crowds attending a pro-President Donald Trump rally earlier in the day and found them to be peaceful.
A joint session of Congress began around 1 p.m. ET to certify the Electoral College voting results. After representatives had retired to the House to discuss objections to Arizona’s electoral vote tally, Capitol police entered the chamber and began locking doors and posting armed people inside with the members.
Jackson said although there had been bomb threats to House office buildings earlier in the day — "That stuff happens all the time" — he knew this wasn't a bomb threat.
"If there's a bomb threat, they're probably not locking us in the chamber," Jackson said.
Jackson stayed behind on the House floor to assist Capitol police in defending the chamber. "It really started to get real" when police advised members to grab their gas masks and prepare to put them on.
"All of a sudden, there was intense pounding on a couple of the doors, like people were trying to knock the doors down," Jackson said. "They had locked the doors, but they weren't just pushing or knocking on the doors, they were throwing themselves into doors. The doors were buckling.
"We started grabbing furniture and dragged furniture and piled furniture in front of the doors."
The day after, Jackson still couldn’t believe what he had witnessed.
"I don’t know how to describe it other than to say it was absolutely insane," he said.
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