Lehigh Valley Rep. Susan Wild recounts her experience as pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol

Written by on January 7, 2021

Lehigh Valley Rep. Susan Wild recounts her experience as pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol

By Jen Rehill

January 6, 2021

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Lehigh Valley Congresswoman Susan Wild lived the terror on Jan. 6 when angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting the peaceful transfer of power.

Listen to the story.

From the literal floor of the House where she had lain down to shelter in place, she heard rounds of gunshots and glass breaking.

Wild spoke with WLVR News Director Jen Rehill that night after she had been evacuated from the Chamber.

“I’m safe but I can’t disclose where I am now,” Wild said, “I’m with about 300-400 other members of Congress.”

The group had just been told that the “intruders” had been removed and that they would be returning to work to finish what they had begun that afternoon: officially counting the votes cast by the Electoral College. 

But it was not a calm gathering even before the terrifying disruption.

“We were getting regular texts from Capitol police telling us that the perimeter had been breached. The people who were in their offices were to remain in their offices — quiet and you know — not answer the door for anybody,” she said. 

Then, after a commotion could be heard, police locked and barricaded the doors.

“Obviously that caused a lot of alarm. We started to hear a lot of banging on the doors. We were being told to stay quiet and stay calm. But we were also told that there were gas masks underneath each seat that we should take out and be prepared to use because they were going to be gassing  the intruders,” Wild said.

Not knowing if she would live or die, she called her son and told him to set up a conference call with his sister and to call her back. 

“I wanted them to hear from me. I’ve since learned that they were able to hear gunshots in the background while we were talking. And I just gave them a very short report on what we were doing and that we were trying to evacuate and that I loved them,” she said. 

Eventually, while Wild was among some of the last to evacuate, she lost a shoe which triggered even more anxiety, she said. 

“I was afraid I would have trouble running if I needed to, you know, minus a shoe,” she said.

Still, Wild was determined.

“I don’t think we have any choice but to move forward, especially with the business that we set out to do today. We set out to preserve our democracy, and we’re damn well going to do it regardless of what’s happened. You can’t give in to this kind of violence and threat or you essentially, give in into the enemy. We think it’s incredibly important that we finish what we set out to do,” she said.

And she did. 

Sign up for our WLVR weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania.


Current track