Lawmakers, political leaders respond to U.S. Capitol chaos

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Video capture of protestors outside the U.S. Capitol (WVTM-13/video screen shot)

Protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday while the U.S. Congress was in the process of certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Below are responses from Alabama lawmakers and political leaders.

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill

“Today, members of Congress gathered in our nation’s Capitol to certify the state’s electoral votes and offer rejections, comments, and speculations.

“As members of the Senate and House of Representatives began debating the legitimacy of certain votes, protestors violently stormed the Capitol and attempted to overthrow our country’s democratic process.

“Although protestors have the constitutional right to have their voice heard, they do not have the right to be disruptive during the certification process that was put in place by our Founding Fathers in 1789 and has since survived the history of our Republic.

“We are fortunate to live in the greatest country in the world – a nation that allows for a difference of opinion. With this freedom comes the responsibility to follow the systematic process to have your opinion voiced, heard, and understood, without disrespecting others or putting lives at risk.

“We are a nation of laws. These laws must be strictly followed and enforced. It is time for America to support the law enforcement officers who serve to protect our personal freedoms – including that to protest.  

“There is an appropriate time and method to express one’s displeasure with the outcome of an election, whether that is through voting in the next election or through introducing information during the legislative process. The answer, however, is never physical violence.

“The people who are currently occupying the Capitol are anarchists and should be treated as such by law enforcement.

“The type of behavior witnessed today in Washington, D.C. should never be encouraged or allowed.

“Human life is far more important than pandering to any politician or political group. President Trump should call on his supporters, who claim to support ‘law and order’, to stand down, follow the law, and unite behind our democratic process.  

“Now is the time for Congress, not violent protestors, to either certify or reject the state’s electoral votes as required by our Constitution.

“Full faith and confidence in our elections must be restored. In order for that to happen, our Nation’s leaders must promote unity, understanding, and the willingness to work with those who may see things differently. This process begins with the actions of our Commander in Chief.”

Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama

“I was on the House Floor this afternoon objecting to the electoral votes with many of my colleagues.  We had to evacuate due to a security breach.  I ask for your prayers during this time in our nation’s history. God has brought this nation through many dark days over the past 240 plus years. We have more times than not, been able to settle our disputes peaceably. I believe God will continue to guide and protect this nation. However, as a nation we need to seek his guidance in peace. He is in full control!”

 

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan
 
“The Alabama Republican Party strongly condemns any violence and unlawful actions occurring on Capitol Hill today. We support law enforcement efforts to control and arrest any person who is violating laws and causing harm to property or people. These actions are not American and cannot be tolerated.
 
“We strongly support peaceful assembly and protest as guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Electoral College voting process, which is allowed by the Constitution, must be allowed to continue without disruption. It is important that citizens contact their representatives to have their voices heard in an orderly and respectful manner.”

 

Rep. Christopher J. England, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party

Today, during a joint session of Congress to fulfill the legal obligation to count the votes of the Electoral College, a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building. This mob was encouraged by Pres. Donald Trump, Rep. Mo Brooks, and others at a rally before they breached the doors of the Capitol. They disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, broke the law, and must be prosecuted for their sedition.

“The American people voted loud and clear that Donald Trump did not deserve a second term as President of the United States, and the disorder of this lame duck period shows clearly why. Pres.-elect Joe Biden and Vice Pres.-elect Kamala Harris will take office on January 20, 2021 because the Constitution says they will. At that point, this sorry period of American history will be over, but our healing will just begin.

“Citizens should note who defended the Constitution and who did not. Politicians who would throw away America’s founding ideals do not deserve to hold office—ever. They should be rejected, and should never be part of public life again for their opposition to our shared values. Mob rule, conspiracy theory mongering, and encouragement of this siege of the Capitol are the natural consequence of years of flirtation by Republican politicians with the fringe elements of their party. As the prophet says, they “have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”


 

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com