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Local politicians respond to Capitol attack

By
JACKIE KOCH

When masses of pro-Donald Trump protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, lawmakers set to officially count the electoral votes and certify Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election were forced to flee in order to protect themselves. When the siege was over and those who breached and desecrated the Capitol dispersed, the Senate and House of Representatives returned to finish their task. Vice President Mike Pence declared Biden the next President of the United States, but the events and aftermath of the day resulted in three protestors and two Capitol police officers dead, as well as a sense of shock and dismay at the continuously unfolding details that have been revealed each day since.

On Monday, Jan. 11, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump, with a charge of incitement to insurrection for his role in the attack on the Capitol on January 6. Their charge was due to Trump’s encouragement to those who attended his rally earlier in the day, where he insisted that the election had been stolen from him despite assurances from multiple states that there was no massive election fraud. He had told the crowd, “They rigged it like they’ve never rigged an election before,” “We will never give up. We will never concede,” and “We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He encouraged those assembled to walk to the Capitol, and said of the lawmakers, “We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Before the president took the stage, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had called for “trial by combat” against the Democrats to win the election.

At 6:01 p.m. on the day of what is now being called a domestic terrorist attack, Trump posted one of his last entries on Twitter before the online platform banned him. “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he wrote. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” Twitter labeled the tweet as inaccurate and said the claim of election fraud was disputed.

The narrative that the November 2020 election was fraudulent was supported by some Republican lawmakers, including Michigan Representatives Tim Walberg and Jack Bergman, who had announced they would formally object during the Electoral College certification process on January 6 and stated that constituents had demanded Congress launch a full investigation into potential fraud and election irregularities. In addition, Michigan Senator Dale Zorn, R-Ida, was one of 11 Michigan senators who sent a letter on January 4 to members of Congress urging them to “pursue every available option and procedure to examine the credible allegations of election-related concerns surrounding fraud and irregularities.”

On January 6 Walberg responded to the events of the day and the violence at the Capitol. “Today, the symbolic foundation of our country was attacked by violent and destructive actions,” he said. “I strongly condemn this reprehensible behavior and call for all violence to cease immediately. Everyone who illegally breached U.S. Capitol grounds should be held fully accountable for their lawlessness. In a free society, we must debate our differences peacefully and through legal channels, just as was taking place on the floor of the House—never resorting to threats of violence. I am deeply grateful to the men and women of law enforcement who protect the U.S. Capitol and kept us safe from danger.”

“It was a sad, sad day for America and I am heartbroken over the appalling violence that occurred at our nation’s Capitol,” said State Representative Bronna Kahle in a statement. “We are a nation of laws and those laws must be followed. I absolutely condemn the violence and those that were rioting. People have a right to peacefully protest and I will always work to protect that inherent American right, but acts of violence and storming public buildings only damage the very fabric of who we are as a nation.”

Kahle called the actions of January 6 “abhorrent” and “a travesty,” stating that they were unpatriotic and destructive to the country’s overall system of government and that anyone who destroyed property or committed acts of violence should be arrested and charged to the fullest extent possible.

Senator Zorn issued the following statement on January 6: “I am appalled by the criminal actions at our nation’s Capitol, and I denounce the violence in the strongest terms possible. These domestic terrorists need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is a coup and not how America works. These rioters aren’t patriots; they are terrorists who are harming our country, our Constitution and our representative democracy.”

On January 7 U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan released a statement that said, “The President violated his oath of office and incited a violent attack on our Capitol and democracy. He poses a clear and present danger to the American people and our national security. He should immediately be removed from office.”

The FBI recently sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country, warning of possible armed protests at all 50 state Capitols starting January 16. The memo stated that an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C. the same day and stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office.

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