4 months ago

‘Let’s get back to work,’ Pence urges Senate

Vice President Mike Pence told the Senate, “let’s get back to work,” hours after a violent mob forced its way into the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the counting of the Electoral College vote.

“As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the constitution of the United States,” Pence told the lawmakers who had earlier been evacuated with gas masks.

Pence had been at the Capitol in order to preside over the count, a mostly symbolic event that is part of the American ritual of peaceful transfer of power. President Donald Trump, who falsely claims that the election was illegitimate, urged Pence to reject the count. But the vice president, who has echoed unfounded claims about the election, said in a statement that he did not have “unilateral authority” to do so.

“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house,” Pence added in his remarks Wednesday evening.

4 months ago

Mattis blames Trump for violence at Capitol

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned in protest over President Donald Trump’s Syria policies, blamed the president for the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

In a sharp rebuke Wednesday, Mattis said the violence was fomented by Trump, who has used the presidency “to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens.”

His written statement concluded, “Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country.”

Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general who stepped down as Pentagon chief in December 2018, had an embattled relationship with Trump, but largely remained publicly quiet and avoided direct criticism. Since he left the job, however, he has been more openly derisive of Trump, including a public condemnation of the president’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests near the White House last June.

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

Melania Trump’s chief of staff quits after riots

Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary for first lady Melania Trump, has resigned following violent protests at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Grisham said in a statement Wednesday that it was an “honor” to serve the country in the White House and be part of he first lady’s “mission” to help children.

Grisham was one of Trump’s longest serving aides, having joined the campaign in 2015. She served as the White House press secretary and never held a press briefing.

Wednesday’s violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol by the president’s supporters sparked renewed conversations inside the White House about mass resignations by mid-level aides who are responsible for operations of the office of the president.

Two people familiar with the conversations said the aides were torn between fears of what more would happen if they left and a desire to register their disgust with their boss. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

—AP writer Zeke Miller

4 months ago

RNC says violence at Capitol is not ‘patriotism’

The Republican National Committee says it strongly condemns the violence at the Capitol, adding that the violent scenes “do not represent acts of patriotism, but an attack on our country and its founding principles.”

The RNC is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform. Its statement condemning the violence came hours after Republican President Donald Trump baselessly complained that the election was stripped away “from great patriots.” He went on to tell them to “go home with love & in peace.”

The group’s communications director, Michael Ahrens, said, “What happened today was domestic terrorism.”

He said to see the U.S. flag used “in the name of unfounded conspiracy theories is a disgrace to the nation, and every decent American should be disgusted by it.”

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over him, citing false claims of voter fraud. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people.”

–The Associated Press

4 months ago

Bill Clinton: Capitol attack fueled by ‘poison politics’

Former President Bill Clinton says the attack on the U.S. Capitol was fueled over four years of “poison politics” and lit by President Donald Trump.

Clinton said in a statement Wednesday night that the riot at the Capitol resulted from a combination of deliberate disinformation that created distrust in the system and pit Americans against one another.

He wrote, “The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost.”

His wife, Hillary Clinton, lost a bitter election to Trump in 2016 and conceded to him immediately. Trump has refused to accept his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden in November and is trying to cast him as an illegitimate president.

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people” and saying, “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”

–The Associated Press

4 months ago

West Virginia state lawmaker among rioters in Capitol

A West Virginia lawmaker took video of himself and other supporters of President Donald Trump rushing into the U.S. Capitol after they breached the security perimeter.

In the video by Republican Del. Derrick Evans, later deleted from his social media page, he is shown wearing a helmet and clamoring at the door to breach the building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

“We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” he said in a packed doorway amid Trump followers holding flags and complaining of being pepper sprayed. Once inside, Evans could be seen on video milling around the Capitol Rotunda, where historical paintings depict the republic’s founding, and yelled, “No vandalizing!”

State House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw said Evans will need to “answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today.”

He said he has not spoken to Evans yet about his involvement.

The delegate from Wayne County said in a statement later on Facebook that he was heading back to West Virginia and “was simply there as an independent member of the media to film history.”

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

The NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins reports from inside Capitol

PBS Newshour correspondent Lisa Desjardins was inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as a pro-Trump mob breached the building. She called the attack a “physical manifestation of these years of completely disregarding some aspects of reality,” noting that some of Trump’s supporters have long been reluctant to accept the truth, as is the case in their denial of the election results which saw President-elect Joe Biden defeating Trump by a wide margin.

By the evening, Desjardins reported that she saw top Congressional officials re-entering the Capitol after it had been cleared and secured. The House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., tweeted that Congress would return to continue counting Electoral College votes. She said it was still unclear how Republicans who previously indicated they would object to the vote count — a large group of lawmakers with varied reasons for doing so — would proceed in light of the attack.


4 months ago

Republican congresswoman will no longer support objections to electoral votes

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said in a statement that after today’s protests in the Capitol turned violent, she has decided she will “vote to uphold the Electoral College results” and is encouraging President Donald Trump to “condemn and put an end to this madness.”

“What happened today and continues to unfold in the nation’s capital is disgraceful and un-American,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers told the Spokesman-Review on Tuesday that she planned to object to the certification of multiple states’ results. In her statement today, she said, “The only reason for my objection was to give voice to the concern that governors and courts unilaterally changed election procedures without the will of the people and outside of the legislative process.”


4 months ago

Congress to resume once Capitol safe, Pelosi says

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will resume the Electoral College proceedings once the Capitol is cleared of pro-Donald Trump protesters and safe for use.

Pelosi said she made the decision Wednesday in consultation with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, who will preside.

She noted the day would always be “part of history,” but now it would be “as such a shameful picture of our country was put out into the world.”

–The Associated Press