State and Local Officials Respond to Violence at U.S. Capitol

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday.

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Many officials said the episode was incited by President Trump, with some suggesting that he should be removed from office. But at least one Republican governor said the president is not to blame for the actions of his supporters.

State and local officials largely condemned Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of President Trump’s supporters and far-right extremists, though they differed mostly along party lines in terms of who was to blame and what should be done in response.

A number of state and local leaders placed blame for the chaos squarely at the feet of President Trump, with some calling for him to be removed from office, or to step down, prior to Jan. 20 when president-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in.

“There is no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office and if Mike Pence would conduct a peaceful transition of power over the next 13 days,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said on Thursday.

Other Republicans in Congress and at the state and local level defended the president against assertions that his actions incited the riot, in which parts of the Capitol were ransacked and one woman was shot and killed inside the building by police. 

The violent breach forced evacuations and delayed the certification of Biden’s presidential election win, although congressional lawmakers later completed the process of counting electoral votes 

At the same time, state capitals across the country saw “Stop the Steal” protests organized by people backing Trump.

Democratic state and local leaders were quick to react as the situation at the Capitol unfolded. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called it “one of the darkest days in American history.” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called it an act of "terrorism” while Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings described it as “treason.” 

Some elected officials, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, described what happened on Wednesday as an attempted coup.

Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp also condemned the violence, calling it "a disgrace and quite honestly un-American."

On Wednesday morning, Trump gave a speech to a crowd of supporters in which he repeated  unsupported claims of election fraud he has pushed for weeks and said he would “never concede.” 

Hours after the siege began, Trump posted a video message to social media in which he urged supporters to go home, but also told them they were “special” and that “we love you.” Twitter and Facebook later removed the video and temporarily locked Trump out of his accounts for violating community guidelines and inciting violence. 

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said Wednesday night that “words have consequences, and your angry words have dangerous consequences.” 

New York state Attorney General Letiticia James went even further in condemning Trump for his role in inciting the riots.

“The coup attempt initiated by outgoing President Trump has been despicable," James said. "These actions, fueled by lies and wild conspiracy theories espoused by President Trump, must be unequivocally condemned by every corner of our society."

But some Congressional leaders and state and local Republicans said the president isn’t to blame for the actions of his supporters.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said people should “absolutely not” place the blame on Trump or the Republicans who voted to block the certification of election results. “When you try to blame the president or blame somebody else, you know, my understanding is the president told them not to commit any crimes,” he said.

At least one Republican leader from Parson’s state contradicted him. U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner told St. Louis Public Radio that Trump “should never have incited this to begin with.”

Some state and local leaders joined a growing number of Congressional Democrats who are calling for Trump to be removed from office, either through impeachment proceedings or the use of the 25th amendment. (The 25th amendment requires the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unable to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.” If Trump disputed this, two-thirds of both Congressional chambers would have to vote to install the vice president in Trump’s place.)

Illinois’ J.B. Pritzer, a Democrat, was the first governor to say Trump shouldn’t be allowed to remain in office until Biden’s inauguration, saying “two weeks is too long for Donald Trump to remain in office, where he can continue to incite more untold violence.”

Democratic state attorneys general—including those in Wisconsin, D.C., and Massachusetts— also joined the chorus of public officials calling for Trump’s removal.

In California, where state and local officials have frequently clashed with the president, at least one state senator said Trump should be removed from office and the mayor of San Jose said Trump should be tried for sedition.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, also called for Trump’s removal on Wednesday. As of Thursday morning, at least one Congressional Republican, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, said Vice President Mike Pence should invoke the 25th amendment.

One state elected official from West Virginia actually took part in the attack on Wednesday. State Rep. Derrick Evans, a Republican, live-streamed on social media as he entered the Capitol Building, shouting “We’re going in! We’re going in!” Evans later claimed he was there to be an “independent member of the media." As of Thursday afternoon, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition asking for him to be removed from the state House of Delegates for “leading and participating in terrorism."

At the epicenter of the chaos, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser used the moment to express anger over the District’s lack of statehood. Because D.C. is not a state, Bowser does not have the same powers as a governor to deploy the National Guard, a situation that contributed to confusion as law enforcement agencies responded.

“We step up daily to support the federal government … to ensure safety in the nation’s capital, despite having zero representation, having no votes in the same Congress where this siege took place today,” she said. 

In an interview with NBC Washington on Thursday morning, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said the District would work closely with federal agencies to gather evidence. “I think it’s really important to hold people accountable for the incursion on the Capitol of the United States and the pillar and symbol of our democracy,” he said.

This post was updated with comments from Maryland's governor and to include information about a West Virginia state representative who took part in Wednesday's events.

Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
Orlando Protects Citizens During Heavy Rain Events by Optimizing Water Data Intelligence
Orlando, FL, USA
Small city of Baldwin, GA with <5K residents reduces info calls to City Hall by 50%
Baldwin, GA, USA
Green Infrastructure acts as a bridge for Indigenous reconciliation in Vancouver, BC
W 63rd Ave & Yukon St, Vancouver, BC V5X 2J2, Canada

NEXT STORY: As Rioters Storm U.S. Capitol, States See Protests

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.