Protesters hold signs outside the Wyoming State Capitol on a day that rioters backing the same cause in Washington D.C. stormed the seat of government. (Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

UPDATE: This story has been updated with U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis’s votes on certifying the election results from certain states and with her statement on her votes. It has also been updated with a statement from Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne. —Ed.

Wyoming’s congressional delegation condemned violence on a dark day in Washington D.C. as a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building after being directed there by President Donald Trump.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis all condemned the violence in D.C., which led to the death of one woman from a gunshot wound, according to national news reports. The delegation had entered the day divided, however, with Lummis one of 12 Republican senators backing Trump’s bid to contest congressional certification of the Electoral College results — a bid built on the baseless claims of a stolen election that drove rioters to storm the capitol. 

Cheney accused the president of inciting the assault. “Sending an angry, violent mob to disrupt proceedings at the Capitol cannot stand,” she said, on the phone to MSNBC from a location she said she could not disclose, but where she sheltered with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. 

“The president of the United States called his supporters to Washington D.C. and has dispatched them without telling them to stop it,” Cheney told the news station.

Among the Trump supporters traveling to Washington and attending the rally was Frank Eathorne, chairman of the Wyoming Republican party, according to a post on the party’s Facebook page. Eathorne did not return calls for comment. In a statement Thursday morning, Eathorne said he participated in peaceful protests near the White House and did not witness any violence or property destruction.

Rioters swarm the U.S. Capitol grounds en route to storming the building in this screenshot from a C-Span broadcast. (C-Span)

Trump released a video message asking his supporters, who were then occupying the capitol, to leave peacefully. He also told the rioters “we love you,” referred to his political opponents as “so bad and so evil” and repeated his unfounded and disproven claims of electoral fraud. That message was “completely inadequate in what he has done and what he has caused here,” Cheney told MSNBC when asked about the president’s brief speech.

Cheney’s stance on respecting the election results drew the president’s ire before the riot. At his rally in the morning — when he directed his supporters to march to the Capitol — Trump called for getting rid “of the weak Congresspeople,” and then specified “the Liz Cheneys of the world, we have to get rid of them.”

Sen. John Barrasso also condemned the mob in a tweet. “This violence and destruction have no place in our republic,” he wrote in a tweet. “It must end now.”

Lummis called the riot an attack on democracy.

“Call it what it is,” she wrote on Twitter: “An attack on the Capitol is an attack on democracy. Today we are trying to use the democratic process to address grievances. This violence inhibits our ability to do that. Violent protests were unacceptable this summer and are unacceptable now.”

Lummis did not vote to object to Arizona’s electoral votes, but did object to Pennsylvania’s. Wyoming’s newest senator has changed her position on whether to interfere in other states’ election processes several times in recent weeks.

“Congress cannot fix problems with election integrity,” she said in a statement. “Only states can fix these problems. But Congress can investigate those problems and raise awareness. The allegations of fraud during this election were unprecedented, and left millions of Americans concerned that their votes don’t count. Discussions of election integrity must occur and I will seek another forum to continue that discussion.”

There is no evidence of widespread fraud during the 2020 election. The Trump campaign has had a number of lawsuits rejected in court for a lack of evidence, and officials from the U.S. Department of Justice to the state level have said there is no credible evidence of widespread fraud.

All three members of the congressional delegation were left “sheltering in place” by the rioters’ takeover of the capitol, the Casper Star Tribune reported. As of 5 p.m. MST, officers from various law enforcement agencies had ejected the rioters and declared the Capitol secured, according to national media reports. 

The Electoral College certification process resumed and Congress certified President-Elect Joe Biden’s win. 

Tension in Cheyenne too

In Cheyenne, state troopers locked down both the State Capitol and the adjoining Herschler Office Building as the events in D.C. unfolded. Several hundred people protested in Cheyenne, according to a spokesperson for the Wyoming Highway Patrol and others. It was the second sizeable protest in three days. 

Troopers decided to lock down the buildings when they heard “worrying remarks” from the crowd in Cheyenne as word spread of the breach of the U.S. Capitol, Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kyle McKay told WyoFile.

A post to the Wyoming Republican party Facebook page claims to show what was “really happening” in the nation’s capital as rioters stormed the Capitol. (Facebook/Screengrab)

Protesters gathered in front of the Capitol to support Trump’s backers in D.C., Tea Party organizer M. Lee Hasenauer told WyoFile. Hasenauer condemned violence, which he said “was never the answer.” But he also suggested the rioters in D.C. might have been “antifa.” If they were “patriots,” they acted because “they’re fed up and they want this vote stopped,” he said.

As protesters threatened the U.S. Capitol, Hasenauer told the crowd in Cheyenne that “we the people have invaded the Capitol of Washington,” according to a tweet from Wyoming Tribune Eagle reporter Tom Coulter, who was present at the protest. The Cheyenne protesters later prayed for the safety of people in D.C. and for peaceful protests. 

The protest in Cheyenne ended peacefully, McKay said, and the crowd dispersed by early afternoon. In a statement condemning the violence in D.C., Gordon praised the Wyoming protest for staying peaceful.

“I believe America will not — cannot — stand for this assault on our democracy,” Gordon said in the brief statement. “I am heartbroken. I encourage the entire country to follow the example that we have demonstrated here in Wyoming, a proper and peaceful expression of dissent — the cornerstone of free speech.”

The governor was referring specifically to Wednesday’s protest, his spokesperson Michael Pearlman told WyoFile. 

Protesters in Cheyenne weren’t done, Hasenauer said. “We will crank things up big time if they don’t stop trying to steal this election,” he said. He was not suggesting violence, he said.

Some state capitol buildings were evacuated amid protests Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Groups of Wyoming residents traveled to D.C. for Wednesday’s protest, Hasenauer said. The group included “Oathkeepers, constitutionalists and Tea Partiers,” he said.  

The Wyoming Republican Party chaired by Eathorne posted a short video that the poster said was “near the White House,” an area that escaped the riots, according to national media. Time stamps say the post, a video of cheering and chanting, was made even as rioters were pushing and smashing their way into the Capitol. 

“Chairman Eathorne is there with other great Wyoming patriots!” the post read. In a Thursday morning statement, the Wyoming Republican Party said Eathorne participated in “peaceful protests.”

“No violence or property damage was observed during my time there including a brief stop in the vicinity of the Capitol building property,” Eathorne said in the statement. “I retired from the public gathering near mid-afternoon and watched the news of some reported events I personally had not witnessed.”

The statement from the Wyoming Republican Party did not comment on the violence at the Capitol, but said “the President’s statement tonight urging peace and love is the right course of action.”

Week of unrest

Cheyenne protests kicked off Monday with a rally called by former lawmaker Scott Clem. That assembly mixed grievances about Gov. Mark Gordon’s public health orders with outrage over his decision not to join Wyoming to a since dismissed Texas lawsuit to overthrow the election results. During that event, a large crowd of protesters called Gordon a tyrant, burned a small pile of masks and marched around the building to chant under Gordon’s office windows. The chanters called for Gordon to “do as you’re told.”

During that protest, the capitol building was open to the public though state troopers observed from the top steps. At one point, a WyoFile reporter observed a squad of troopers in helmets, carrying wooden clubs and zip ties. There was no serious confrontation between officers and the crowd, however. 

A man carries an assault rifle at a Monday protest in Cheyenne. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

Troopers on Wednesday again had helmets and such gear on site for their own protection, McKay said. 

Amid such conditions, members of the 66th Wyoming Legislature have been taking their oaths of office in small groups out of COVID-19 concerns. Six lawmakers were sworn in this morning before the protests, according to Legislative Service Office staff. 

Some lawmakers spoke at both events. Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper) and Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) spoke on both Monday and Wednesday. Neither lawmaker responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Support independent reporting — donate to WyoFile today.

Earlier in the month, 48 current or outgoing state legislators called on Gordon to join an effort to overturn the election that cited claims of widespread voting fraud in certain states. Those claims have been rejected by various courts because of a lack of evidence, and have been dismissed by the U.S. Department of Justice and election officials in all 50 states. 

Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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  1. First off let me say how disappointed I am wih Lummis for not holding her ground , Barrasso for not taking a stand and Cheney for never acknowledging the massive election fraud that stole our vote.
    PRESIDENT TRUMP never incited a riot and you know it. This wax a mob of ANTIFA members who were let into the Capital to do just what they did. The fake shooting, all to take down our democracy and deeply instill communism.
    ANTIFA and BLM can riot burn and destroy businesses, assault people who disagree, and March wherever they like and THAT requires NO ACTION. But let a few pissed off Americans storm the Capital and that’s grounds to shutdown all conservative social media sights, lock out our President and destroy our free speech….all because Congress felt threatened.
    Wow! NOW maybe they know what our citizens are feeling when ANTIFA attacks them…and our government does nothing to protect them….
    Welcome to communist America….

    1. No this wasn’t antifa or blm protesters. This was all trumpkins. You are wrong and so is the failure of a president.

      You are being dishonest and lazy in not searching for facts that are verifiable. You are taking the word of a chronic and proven liar as the gospel.

      There was no fraud, the election wasn’t stolen, and you believe outright lies. Please be rational.

  2. “It’s easy finding reasons why other folks should be patient.” George Elliot, [Mary Ann Evans] (1819 – 1880) an English novelist, poet, etc.

    It seems that people of color are losing their patience with a large contingency of white America. I hear it in the voice of nearly every call-in to such shows as Thom Hartmann or Stephanie Miller and in nearly every podcaster or writer of color, for example two Native American’s, Michael and Dave on the Native Opinion podcast.

    In my opinion, the racist eruptive rebound from a Barack Obama presidency, then the stressful years of Trump with assaults on decency and norms, and in a strategic division of Americans has worn very thin the patience of Americans of color. They have just about had it with many traditional institutions of the nation.

    The storming of the seat of the government, the Capitol building, of which George Washington laid the cornerstone 227 years ago and representing all fifty states of this nation is of note. Many Capitol Police virtually rolled out a red carpet for an angry mob of white men and women, many armed, and at least one waving a confederate battle flag.

    This may be the back breaking straw with people of color. Seems the policing response hypocrisy among many in law enforcement is incapable of being hidden today. It is even clearly evident to a white like myself. I expect other whites to acknowledge this now. A nation is at stake.

  3. Cynthia Lummis should resign.

    I read in a letter enclosed here that a petition is circulating for her resignation. Alas – I haven’t found it as yet.

    I sent Ms. Lummis an email and left her a recording on her telephone on January 8 saying the above. and saying I will be working diligently over the next 6 years to remove her from office. How embarrasing that she joined the ilk of Cruz and Hawley.

    How sad that Ms. Lummis is our State’s first woman senator. We can do better.

  4. Trump has spent the past 4 or 5 years coaxing his supporters to the edge of a cliff. He is now pushing them over the edge much to his perverse delight.

  5. In Cynthia Lummis’s first speech on the US Senate floor, she yet again showed an inability for individual thought and decision making as confirmed by her stance denouncing the Pennsylvania election. Lummis a junior Senator from Wyoming could not possibly have intimate material knowledge of the election process or of State Republican led, approved and court rejected challenges to changes to the Pennsylvania election process. Further her embarrassing objection to the election confirmation is a frivolous effort to pander to a group who are now part of a seditious mob (or who support them) and is an act that directly undermines Wyoming election sovereignty. We need people in Congress who understand civics, respect the United States Constitution and who have enough intelligence and integrity to not join frivolous and seditious acts. Kudos to Liz Cheney for standing up for our Constitution.

  6. I have noticed that most of the comments address Cynthia Lummis’ role in this event. There is a constitutional remedy for her and the other members of congress who supported in this outrage. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 3 states:
    “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

  7. Genuine question for this readership and venue: How can we recall /impeach / censure Lummis here in Wyoming?
    I know there is a petition circulating for her resignation, but iwhat other legal avenues do Wyoming voters / citizens have?
    Lummis is just as guilty of inciting sedition as is Trump. This should not be allowed to stand.

  8. Lummis in her campaign literature called Democrats socialists, and said they want to take your guns and your Bible. What do you call Republicans who want to take your vote?

  9. Donald Trump has been the most entertaining President in my lifetime. Catnip to news outlets. Hyperbole from all sides ran amok. At the end of the day, it was all political theater and heightened narcissism always on the verge of hitting a tripwire.

    Why bash Cynthia and crew for acting like politicians? We elected ’em to be politicians. They play the part. Some better than others.

    What Cynthia Lummis says in public may seem closer to unrefined political claptrap than refined political calculus but I can’t find anything wrong with either type of political BS. Most people can filter out the BS regardless of party. Obviously, some should worry about those who can’t. More often than not, politicians sound like a record player’s needle stuck in a grove so it was kind of refreshing to hear all the more outrageous political statements (and reactions) rise from the Washington mud pit over the last 4 years, media included. But I didn’t learn much. If you focus on the shiny object over here, they can keep you in the dark about the more egregious actions elsewhere. Debate policy, and back-room deals, not distractions.

    At the end of the day, what politicians say in private behind closed doors would be more interesting to hear, and maybe more frightening.

    The news and media outlets have been so focused on the twitterverse and attention-seeking politicians that they have undermined their claim to be a worthy fourth estate.

  10. Since the rally was part of President Trump’s ongoing efforts to run for President over the next four years, it can be considered a campaign event. Congress should place a lien on the $200,000,000 (two hundred million and counting) cache he has raised for his campaign to pay to repair damage to the Capitol.

    Think about it, this is more than a one day clean-up. The next expense will be replacing all those single pane windows with bullet proof glass. Why should you and I as taxpayers have to foot the bill for the destructive acts of Trump supporters? He set the carnage into motion, so let his supporters, via his $200 million slush fund, cover the costs.

    OH, and is WyoFile planning to cover the petition to oust Lummis?

  11. Cynthia Lummis cannot be allowed to have it both ways; feeding the sedition and then trying to decry it. If she has any evidence of any voter fraud anywhere not already examined by proper (Republican) authorities, and adjudicated by the courts (also Republican), she is obliged to put it on the table now! If she does not she should take her full share of responsibility for all the damage she has caused including incitement to riot, interfering with the action and processes of government, trashing the capital building, and the death of a capital police officer.

    Be sure of this. When Cynthia Lummis refers to “election integrity” and “allegations of fraud” she is not referring to the dark money that stains our political process, nor the voting of white voters. Until proven otherwise by her behavior, we should assume her election comments are purely racist..

  12. I hope they don’t try to impeach Trump. At a time of division in our nation, it would only cause more disruption. Trump should hand over power to the vice-president, grab a playmate, a porn star, and a bag of golf clubs and spend the next twelve days in Florida. America could begin to heal. He is not worth the effort and damage it would do to remove him.

  13. Senator Lummis-
    Shame on you. Just three days after you took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic, as your first official act as a United States senator, you violated your oath by voting to overturn the results of a free and fair election in Pennsylvania.

  14. Lummis is an enemy to our Constitution, no less to blame than Trump, Cruz or the cult of domestic terrorists we witnessed in DC! I’m ashamed and disgusted that these people call themselves Republicans or even Americans. Punishment should be strong and swift.

  15. There never was any evidence to support the claims of voter fraud. By repeating the unsupported claims of voter fraud as something that needed investigation, Lummis mollycoddled a lie and accept lies from liars. I have never headed into the backcountry expecting Wyoming to deliver the weather, wildlife, or human behavior that I want. That would be a childish, foolish and deadly way to head into the backcountry. So too is telling your constituents what they want to hear rather than the truth. You turn yourself and them into children and fools. If your constituents are people who learn Wyoming’s lessons, they can take the truth (or maintain foolishness till their Darwin award arrives). Be brave enough to give it to them. I understand you’re doing the best you can, but I’m asking for better. Wyoming has never taught me to lie. It has never taught me to pander to liars. It teaches me to seek out the truth and be well-prepared for making good decisions with an honest sense of human nature. The tragic comedy of Lummis supporting objections to the electoral college, followed by her condemnation of the violence suggests she might want to spend a week back on the ranch to restore her relationship with reality, and consider more deeply how her gullibility has stained forever the career of our first woman senator. If she was using the Trump base as her mark for her next election, and now it turns out that she’s the mark, then you know you’ve seen how the Trump con works. I’m sorry for every gullible person in Wyoming as the game plays out. I’m mad that the Wyoming of my childhood, where I stuffed envelopes for Republican and Democratic candidates depending on which person was the best candidate, has been bamboozled. I’m mad that the con has taken hard-working common sense people and led them with Eathorne to the point where they have to maintain the self-delusion that it was patriotic to support a lying con-man. He went there to support a lie. Eat crow, Eathorne. Upon your return, may you be a man without a welcoming party. The truth hurts. And I think we’re good for it in Wyoming. I believe we can take it. And we’re going to have to, because Wyoming is volatile and ready to teach us about the real danger, the climate crisis, that we’re bringing down on our children. And while Senator Barrasso publicly rejects that truth, I’m telling you we can face the truth, draw from our experiences with this land, and adapt for our children’s sake. Wyoming voters–I hope you’ll start asking for more instead of voting in the people who tell you what you want to hear.

  16. I passed by the protest at the capitol in Cheyenne while walking to my car. In the two minutes I was within hearing distance, I heard the speaker claim that all the crime in this country is committed by “the blacks” and that masks cause pneumonia. Nobody walked away. Nobody seemed to challenge the speaker’s racist and ignorant comments. If deplorable isn’t the word to describe these people, what is?

  17. Oh that is rich coming from lummis who voted not to certify the Biden win, nice spin not my senator!
    Recuse yourself and find work that represents your beliefs, Ted Cruz lackey?

  18. Cynthia Lummis’s very first act as our US Senator was to sell out her country by attempting to overturn the outcome of a legitimate election in the State of Pennsylvania. This act shows she believes in the power of the Federal Government over that of the individual States. Not at all representative of the Wyoming Republican party that I used to know.

  19. My hope is that Trump will face justice and be held accountable for inciting this insurrection. Let us be clear, these people are not protesters or even rioters, but traitors to this country. These miscreants attempted to forcefully overturn a free and fair election. The President called for these people to come to Washington several times over the past weeks. His speech, as well as Trump Jr.’s and Guiliani’s rhetoric, encouraged this assault on Congress. All three should face a judge and jury. A strong message must be sent so that no future president will believe he/she can get away with such acts of sedition.

    Also, there is no equivalency between what these insurrectionists did and Black Lives Matter protests or Antifa’s opposition to fascists. Protesting the police brutality, or protesting anything, is not the same as trying to thwart our democratic process. I do not condone violence or destruction of property by any group, but intent and motive matter.

    Fortunately, in the end our constitutional process prevailed.

  20. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) said this from on floor of the US House to his fellow Representatives and the members of the US Senate:

    “That attack today — it didn’t materialize out of nowhere. It was inspired by lies — the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight. And the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves. Their constituents should be ashamed of them.”

    He’s talking to you, Cynthia Lummis.

    1. Exactly! Lummis took a highly irresponsible, unpatriotic stance to vote yes on the Pennsylvania motion. How would she like it if someone did that file Wyoming. So much for her states rights and law and order stance. Phony self serving posturing.

  21. Simply disgusting, but not surprising for the likes of Trump. I hope he ends up behind bars, and soon, for incitement to riot, since, apparently his crimes do not meet the standards for treason, though to me what he did was the act of a traitor. At the very least, he should be removed from office, quickly, and any cops, or military (national guard) personnel who failed to take appropriate measures against the attacking rioters should be fired and banned from any (public or private) law enforcement work, for life. My observations of cops siding with vigilantes in recent months have greatly lowered my respect for law enforcement people in this country.

    NEVER AGAIN!

    1. I’m with YOU.

      Insurrection is NOT a “peaceful protest”. Unfortunately, this particular riot WAS incited by narcisistic Donald. Where can I sign up for the list of voters who would like Donald to be OUT of the White House ASAP?

    2. I agree Harvey. If these people had been black, they would have been gunned down before they could make it to the steps of the capitol. Look at photos of the security protecting the capitol when BLM protested there this summer. You could invade small countries with a force like that.

  22. Cause and effect.

    There are all sorts of non-thinking people who will believe EVERYTHING they read on the internet and see on fox news.

    If you keep claiming that the election was stolen, there are people who will slurp and swallow it down believing it to be the gospel truth. Anyone who has perpetuated the lies that the election was rigged are complicit in what we’ve seen today.

    It’s disgusting and an embarrassment to our country.