The Senate’s sergeant-at-arms, Michael Stengler, has resigned at the request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and amid widespread concern that the Capitol lacked sufficient security to defend against the type of riots that occurred on Wednesday.
“Today I requested and received the resignation of Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, effective immediately,” read a statement from McConnell.
“Deputy Sergeant at Arms Jennifer Hemingway will now serve the Senate as Acting Sergeant at Arms, pursuant to statute,” it continued. “I thank Jennifer in advance for her service as we begin to examine the serious failures that transpired yesterday and continue and strengthen our preparations for a safe and successful inauguration on January 20th.”
Rioters entering the Capitol forced lawmakers to shelter in place or leave the premises entirely. Footage from the incident showed broken windows and tense confrontations with Capitol police. One woman also died after being shot by police. Three others died due to “medical emergencies,” according to police.
According to Politico, Stenger’s resignation is just one of several from law enforcement in the wake of Wednesday’s mayhem. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is resigning effective Jan. 16 and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving will be resigning as well.
While the details are unclear, footage emerged online of protesters bypassing police on Capitol grounds while approaching the building itself, which houses the two chambers of Congress. More than a dozen individuals have been arrested in relation to the incident, which many have described as an “insurrection.”
Both McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized the response, with Schumer vowing to fire the sergeant-at-arms if he wasn’t gone before Schumer became majority leader.
“If Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger hasn’t vacated the position by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” he said.
McConnell said Wednesday “represented a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government.”
“A painstaking investigation and thorough review must now take place, and significant changes must follow,” he added. “Initial bipartisan discussions have already begun among committees of oversight and Congressional Leadership.”