A video showing Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., praying during the riot at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday has gone viral and in a recent interview, the politician explained why she turned to God instead of fearing the rioters.
The viral video shows Blunt Rochester fervently praying as rioters made their way into the House chamber. The violence unfolded when hundreds of fringe Trump supporters broke through barricades and stormed the Capitol building.
A peaceful rally and protest were attended by tens of thousands of Trump supporters at the Ellipse earlier in the day. Twenty minutes before Trump closed his speech at the Ellipse, rioters had breached the Capitol where a separate rally and speeches had been planned outside the building that afternoon. Violent clashes between Capitol police and rioters resulted in the deaths of six people, including a Capitol officer who took his own life days later.
Those who died include unarmed 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashely Babbitt who was shot by Capitol police as she attempted to climb through a smashed door pane into the House chamber during the riot while three others purportedly died from health emergencies. Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, who had been on the force since 2008 and was an Iraq War veteran, died on Jan. 7 after he suffered injuries while responding to the breach. Another Capitol police officer who responded to the riot died by suicide on Saturday.
Blunt Rochester’s reaction to the siege was shared online by Christian author and worship leader Carlos Whittaker who posted the video on Instagram and transcribed the emotional prayer.
As Blunt Rochester and other lawmakers sheltered-in-place in the House gallery, she began to pray: “Father God, you are all-powerful. We know all things work together for the good so we trust in you right now in the name of Jesus, that you have this under control. Right now in the name of Jesus. All things work together, all things.
“Peace. Peace in the land. Peace in this country. Peace in this world,” she cried out.
In an interview with Delaware radio news station WDEL on Jan. 7, the congresswoman described her experience. She said she was asked to sit in the gallery of the House chamber to get a bird’s eye view of the certification of the Electoral College votes.
"And the next thing we know, the rioters were right there at the chambers," she told the news station.
"Typically, I think I would be just scared or nervous, but it was more react, react. 'Where do I go? What do I do? How do you open this gas mask?'" she said.
While the rest of the House chamber was cleared and evacuated, those left in the gallery were told to hide. Blunt Rochester was not alone, adding that U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., also prayed with her.
"She grabbed my arm, and I grabbed her arm, and she just looked at me and said: 'Lisa, we know God is in control or God is bigger than this.' But that was the moment where I just kind of laid down my sadness and my anger, and I just started to pray — pray for healing, pray for peace, pray for everyone's safety," she recalled.
Blunt Rochester prayed, “Lord we ask you for a healing. Right now. Right now in the name of Jesus … protect those who are trying to protect us.
“Protect all of our brothers and sisters in this Congress who protect America, Lord. We just thank you. We praise you. We give you all honor and glory because you, you are powerful. Above all, we thank you right now in this moment," her petition concluded.
At the time of the riot, lawmakers were undergoing the electoral certification process and were forced to stop. The confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden's victory was affirmed by Congress in the early hours of Thursday morning after Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers reconvened.