Regional politicians react to violence at US Capitol
January 8, 2021
By RICHARD JENKINS
Politicians around the region are reacting to the violence in Washington D.C. Wednesday as a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to delay the Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
The proceedings resumed later Wednesday after the Capitol was cleared by law enforcement and was completed early Thursday.
“As are so many Wisconsinites and Americans, I am watching these horrifying events unfold in Washington, D.C. in disbelief. The peaceful transfer of power is at the very heart of our government and our country. This is an attack on our democracy. Period,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “There must be swift, bipartisan condemnation in no uncertain terms -- by the president, by elected officials who’ve sought to sow division and distrust in our election, by elected officials who’ve failed to unequivocally denounce these efforts, all of which fed into today’s events.”
Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a joint statement with her Republican predecessor, Rick Snyder.
“What is unfolding today in our nation’s capital is truly appalling. Violence, vandalism and insurrection have no place in this great country of ours. We are a nation of laws, not mobs,” Whitmer said.
“While we come from different backgrounds and political parties, Gov. Whitmer and I share a deep love for our country,” Snyder said. “We must always remember that we are Americans first, and we are not one another’s enemy. That’s why I join with Gov. Whitmer in calling on people of goodwill across America to pray for peace, calm, and healing.”
The area’s federal representatives have also issued statements on the violence and electoral college certification through their websites and on social media.
“A day that began with a brazen and dangerous attack on our democracy has ended with a sign of its endurance: Congress returned to work and validated the election of Joe Biden as our next president and Kamala Harris as our next vice president. Michigan’s votes were counted and voices were heard. I am grateful to law enforcement officers who keep us safe every day and ensured that we could fulfill our constitutional duty,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.
“Wednesday’s dangerous and unacceptable attack on our Capitol marked one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. These events went against the very values upon which our country was founded,” said Gary Peters, D-Michigan. “The President’s continued refusal to accept the election results and efforts to stoke violence demonstrates his complete absence of leadership and character. His words and actions incited domestic terrorists who endangered democratically elected leaders, staff and law enforcement.
“It was horrific that as members carried out their constitutional duty they were disrupted and threatened by armed rioters in a desperate attempt to keep President Trump in power.
“We had a secure, free and fair election that was certified by Michigan and every other state. Despite what transpired, Congress reconvened and completed the Electoral College vote count. There is no question that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn into office on Jan. 20.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, condemned the violence but continued to express concerns about the integrity of the election results.
“I condemn the lawlessness and mourn the loss of life that occurred in the Capitol. I believe the sentiments expressed below are valid concerns of the millions of Americans who also condemn today’s illegal activities in the Capitol,” Johnson said as part of a statement on the electoral college proceedings on his website that includes the speech he was going to deliver prior to the violence. “I refuse to dismiss the legitimate concerns of tens of millions of Americans who have lost faith in our institutions and the fairness of our electoral process.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, blamed Trump for the violence
“Trump will not stop this attack on our Democracy. He continues to encourage it. Everyone in Congress should put country over party and condemn Trump for starting this attack. Let’s stop it by getting back to our job of accepting the election that Trump clearly lost and Biden won,” Baldwin posted on her Twitter account.
“I am safe, but it’s disgraceful that our country has to experience this violence because of Trump’s lies, conspiracies and un-American attacks on our Democracy,” she wrote in an earlier tweet.
“My staff and I are safe. Thank you to all who have reached out,” Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, posted on Facebook. “Peaceful protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right and that right must be protected for all Americans, but violence and destruction is unacceptable.”
Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, also condemned the violence while expressing concerns about the certification process.
“In times of tension and turmoil, leaders stand up and do what is right. I made it very clear this week that I intended to stand for my belief that irregularities, discrepancies, and usurpation of state election laws demanded an investigation into the 2020 election,” Bergman said as part of a statement Wednesday.
“The actions of the mob that participated in storming the Capitol, fighting Capitol Police, and harming civilians and property is un-American and a disgrace to our republic. Those who broke the law and participated in this effort should receive maximum punishment. These actions undermine our very foundation – I didn’t fight for our country for forty years to see us devolve into settling political disputes by violence and intimidation,” he said later in the statement. “We are a nation of law and order and must remain so if we are to maintain our republic.”
Along with the condemnation of the violence, several of the statements called for unity in its aftermath.
“Now is the time to put this election behind us once and for all,” Whitmer added. “We must unify as one nation to defeat our real enemy, which is the pandemic that has taken far too many of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones,” Whitmer said. “As Americans, there is no problem we can’t solve, and no challenge we can’t meet. Let’s all stay safe. Let’s take care of each other. And let’s move forward together, as one United States of America.”
Editor’s Note: The Associated Press contributed to this story.