Pelosi Barricades Self in Office, Refuses to Hand Over the Gavel
WASHINGTON - Events took a strange turn Thursday when Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the soon-to-be former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, barricaded herself and small number of her staff in her office in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. It remains unclear whether the staff members inside the office with her are active participants in the action, or whether they are being held by Pelosi against their will. Crying and shouts of "Never!" and "My blog will always be called 'The Gavel!'" could be heard coming through the wall in the hallway outside the blocked door.
Capitol police say that Pelosi began blocking the door to her office shortly after dawn Thursday morning. It's unclear exactly what sparked Pelosi's move, but Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley was reportedly seen leaving her office a few minutes before the sound of furniture moving and hammers were heard to echo from inside her office. Quigley is among a growing number of Democrats seeking a new direction, or just some sign of a grasp of reality, in his party leadership after its defeats last week. He had reportedly met with Pelosi to urge her to step aside, or at least stop referring to herself with the pronoun "we."
"That time of morning it's usually quiet in the building," said Capitol police spokesman Sgt. Dan Hillen. "But we started getting reports of what sounded like someone remodeling their office so we went to check it out. We found that Speaker Pelosi's office doors were locked from the inside. Our officers knocked, but no one answered or opened the door. We did hear someone inside, who we now believe to be Pelosi, whisper, 'Cheese it, it's the cops!' before uttering a long, loud shush. There were also sounds of muffled crying. We retrieved the keys to unlock the door, but met resistance from inside. Those inside have apparently moved quite a bit of furniture and at least one sculpture into the doorway, and something large and wooden has been nailed across the doors to keep them from opening." Hillen speculated that the object nailed across the door might be the giant gavel that Pelosi famously toted across Capitol Hill when she became speaker.
Hillen says that as far as he knows, there has never been a situation quite like this in the nation's capital.