A group of Republican senators who objected to the election results have been called the “Sedition Caucus” and accused by Democrats of “standing with the mob”.
Eight Republican senators and over 130 of the party’s members of Congress voted against certifying election results even after the debate was shut down by rioters.
The Senate contingent led by Texas senator Ted Cruz, and Missouri senator Josh Hawley, faced demands from Democrats to resign or be expelled from the Senate.
Mr Cruz and the others condemned the violence but still objected to the certification of the results.
They argued that large numbers of voters, including many Democrats, did not have faith in the results, and therefore a commission should be established to audit them. Initially, more than a dozen Republican senators had objected, but some withdrew their protest after the siege of the Capitol.
Those included Oklahoma senator James Lankford, who was speaking on the Senate floor when it was shut down.
On his return hours later a stunned-looking Mr Lankford said: “I was literally interrupted mid-sentence speaking here…peaceful people in my state want their questions [about the election result] answered, but they don’t want this, what happened today. We must set a peaceful example.”
An editorial by the Kansa City Star newspaper in Missouri said Mr Hawley had “blood on his hands”.
Claire McCaskill, a former Democrat senator from Missouri, said the “Sedition Caucus” had “stood with the mob”.
Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who ran against Mr Cruz in Texas in 2018, said: “It is your self-serving attempt at sedition that has helped to inspire these terrorists and their attempted coup.”
The Texas Democratic Party called on the US justice department to investigate Mr Cruz for incitement of sedition and treason.
A party spokesman said: “Ted Cruz led a charge of the ‘Sedition Caucus’ which ignited the people who stormed the US Capitol. “Ted Cruz’s presidential ambitions are dead in the water.”
Mr Cruz and Mr Hawley are both potential candidates in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. In a statement Mr Cruz called for the rioters to be prosecuted.
He said: “The attack at the Capitol was a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system. “Now, we must come together and put this anger and division behind us.’
Mr Hawley said: “It is my responsibility as a senator to raise their (my constituents’) concerns.”