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Combat Vets In Congress Stepped Up To Protect Others During Capitol Riot

Wednesday was certainly a day that tested the mettle of Americans, especially those who were caught up in the mayhem at the U.S. Capitol. Yet a select group of Representatives, including some who are combat vets turned Congressmen.

The Washington Post highlighted the actions of Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who relied on their combat training to help fellow House of Representatives members during Wednesday’s Capitol siege.

Gallego, according to the article, “looked over the panicked faces of fellow lawmakers and explained to them some of the most potent lessons from boot camp. Trust your mask. Take measured, shallow breaths. Don’t panic.”

The article noted that Gallego, “whose mind flipped to a ‘Marine Corps brain,’ became Cpl. Gallego. He stood on a chair and barked instructions to move toward exits.”

As Crow, a former Army Ranger, explained in an interview with CNN’s New Day, “I haven’t felt that way in over 15 years since I was a ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, where I thought there was a possibility I would have to fight my way out.”

The photo of Crow comforting Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) is one of the iconic photos from the day’s startling events … and Crow used the occasion of many people reaching out about the photo to say, “Thank you, but also thank the journalists behind the photos. Many were locked with us in the House Gallery as riots surrounded the chamber. Amid violence in our Capitol, they captured history.”

(He then credited Tom Williams of CQ Roll Call in his tweet—making it the rare tweet including a photo credit.)

While the two combat veterans played a role in getting their colleagues and staffers through the ordeal, another Congressman helped in the aftermath.

As Today chronicled, Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) joined Capitol staffers in getting on the floor and picking up garbage after the Capitol was secured.

“When you see something you love that’s broken you want to fix it,” he said, explaining why he joined in the efforts. “I love the Capitol. I‘m honored to be there. This building is extraordinary and the rotunda in particular is just awe-inspiring. How many countless generations have been inspired in that room?

“It really broke my heart and I just felt compelled to do something. … What else could I do?”

Kim lost his bid for re-election after twice winning in a district carried by President Trump. As Today depicted it, Kim “wasn’t looking for publicity, according to one colleague who came upon him and didn’t recognize him at first.”

“I think it was 1 in the morning,” said fellow New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski in the article. “There were a couple National Guardsman and I noticed somebody on his hands and knees leaning under a bench to pick something up and it was Andy all by himself, just quietly removing debris and putting it in a plastic bag. He was clearly not doing it for an audience.

“It was for me the most poignant moment of the long night.”

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Written by Phil West