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‘We sat in the dark. We had the TV on. It was muted.' Kansas Rep. Davids recounts riot

Brian Lowry, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Capitol was overtaken by a deadly mob with men wearing symbols of white nationalism, the first two Native American women to serve in Congress barricaded themselves inside an office and prepared for the worst.

Kansas Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids took refuge in her office with New Mexico Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland— who will be the first Native American to lead a federal agency if confirmed secretary of the Interior— and Washington Democratic Rep. Kim Schrirer.

“We sat in the dark. We had the TV on. It was muted,” Davids recalled.

The three didn’t wait for the official lockdown order to secure themselves after seeing videos of the chaos on Twitter, she said.

Davids, 40, a former mixed martial artist, had been quipping in recent days that she was “body man” for Haaland, her friend and soon-to-be member of President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet. Now they had to prepare for the possibility that rioters would find their way to the building where Davids offices, which is connected to the Capitol by a tunnel.

If the barricade didn’t hold, they’d be forced to fight them off. The rioters did not make it to the congressional office buildings.


Davids was not on the House floor at the time of the siege, but mistakenly believed that Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was. She began dialing Cleaver and other lawmakers to make sure they were OK.

Cleaver told The Star last week in an interview as he sheltered in place that he missed Davids’ call because he was on with his daughter, letting her know he was safe. Davids also asked her staff, who she had instructed to work from home that day, to check in on reporters to confirm their safety.

The riot at the Capitol was “a direct attack on our democracy,” Davids said. She finds pleas for unity from Republican colleagues to be hollow until they hold President Donald Trump accountable for inciting violence and acknowledge how their own misrepresentations about the election fed the rage.

“I think right now in this moment one of the things that my Republican colleagues have the opportunity to do is put our country, our democracy, and our safety and security first, and help get the clear and present danger that is in the White House out,” Davids said Tuesday, ahead of a series of House votes aimed at removing Trump from office with just days left in his presidency.


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