U.S. Capitol Architect Says $30 Million In Damage Caused By Capitol Rioters
U.S. Capitol Architect J. Brett Blanton said last week that the cost to repair damages from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot amounts to more than $30 million. Blanton said that the riots were “difficult for the American people and extremely hard for all of us on campus to witness.”
Congressional appropriations committees have approved a request for the $30 million in order to repair damages. “History teaches us that project costs for replacements and repairs beyond in-kind improvements across campus will be considerable and beyond the scope of the current budgetary environment,” Blanton stated.
Blanton recently told lawmakers that “[Architect of the Capitol] employees sheltered congressional staff in their shops to protect them from the roving mob. Other members of our team raced to the roof to reverse the airflows within the building to help clear the air of chemical irritants, like bear repellents and pepper spray, while more team members rushed bottles of water and eyewash stations to Capitol Police officers in need of assistance.”
When the Capitol attacks occurred, Blanton’s team had been in the midst of preparing for the upcoming presidential inauguration. “Over the course of a couple of hours, the hard work of our team was destroyed,” he said. “The [inauguration] platform was wrecked. There was broken glass and other debris. Sound systems and photography equipment was damaged beyond repair or stolen. Two historic Olmsted lanterns were ripped from the ground, and the wet blue paint was tracked all over the historic stone balustrades and Capitol building hallways.”
Blanton added, “The events of January 6 were stark reminders that institutional biases, priorities and actions taken out of sync with actionable data resulted in poor decisions. If we do not learn from these mistakes, the campus will continue to remain vulnerable to unknown and unexpected threats.”