The heartbreaking scene motivated at least one local lawmaker to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
"When I got to the (Capitol) Rotunda, which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful rooms in the country, there was debris, trash, garbage all over the place. There was clothing, cigarette butts on the floor," said N.J. congressman Andy Kim.
"I really felt like the Capitol building, and our democracy had been treated with such disrespect, that if there was anything that I could do, even if it meant cleaning up the rooms...I wanted to do my part."
Around midnight, hours after a mob of trump rioters stormed the Capitol, the South Jersey congressman crouched down and started cleaning the mess left behind.
"It was an emotional experience for me. I looked over and saw some police officers that had a trash bag. I asked them if they had any other extra trash bags, and they gave it to me, and I just started cleaning," he said.
A photographer nearby snapped Kim working. The photos have since gone viral through social media..
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted, "@RepAndyKimNJ represents the very best of New Jersey and our nation. A true public servant who makes us proud every single day."
Like his colleagues, Kim sheltered in his office inside the Rayburn House Office Building during the lockdown.
They later convened to certify Joe Biden's electoral college victory.
"I didn't want those who had pushed their way in and desecrated these buildings to have the satisfaction of having delayed our work," Kim added.