Politics

Republican Leaders Issue Meek Statements in Response to Capitol Siege

Ted Cruz in Congress wearing a mask and holding his fist out to a colleague.
Ted Cruz fist-bumps a colleague before betraying American democracy for Donald Trump. Erin Scott/Getty Images

Donald Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a violent attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. They beat back the small number of law enforcement officers guarding the Capitol, broke windows, invaded legislators’ offices, and stormed the Senate chamber.

Minutes before the siege, several Republican lawmakers were in the process of objecting to electors from states Trump lost but insists he won—a gesture of loyalty to the president and a show of willingness to subvert democracy to maintain the favor of Trump’s followers. Then, in the middle of the proceedings, the Senate was forced to evacuate.

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Some of the Republicans who challenged Biden’s victory in the joint session of Congress, or have done so in the press, issued statements of displeasure at the scenes of violence, seemingly agreeing with the ends but not the means. Some GOP officials have remained silent. Many Republicans tweeted concern for the law enforcement officers the Trump-supporting insurrectionists assaulted as they forced their way into the Capitol. None has admitted to any regrets.

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Here’s Sen. Ted Cruz, soon after objecting to the counting of Arizona’s electoral votes, tweeting that violence is wrong:

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Here’s Rep. Paul Gosar, who had also just finished registering an objection to certifying Biden’s win, asking the people enacting a siege on the U.S. Capitol to avoid getting “carried away,” blaming the assault on antifa, and suggesting that the Arizona secretary of state, who certified the state’s election results, is to blame for the invasion:

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On Fox News, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said of the attack, “I could not be sadder or more disappointed with the way our country looks at this very moment.” He also tweeted:

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Sen. Marsha Blackburn, one of the Republicans who had promised to object to the certification of Biden’s win, scolded the rioters (“protestors,” she called them) for going too far:

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In the mildest possible terms, Sen. Mike Braun, who also promised to object to the seating of electors and had spoken to protesters earlier in the day, said the attempted coup was “wrong”:

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Sen. Steve Daines issued an evergreen tweet about nothing in particular:

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After asking rioters to “peacefully disperse,” Sen. Ron Johnson focused on the positive:

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Sen. John Kennedy tweeted that he “will not be intimidated by a mob” that wants the same thing he does:

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Sen. James Lankford accused rioters of “destroying the Capitol”:

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One of the most vocal proponents of the efforts to stop Biden from taking office, Sen. Josh Hawley, who raised a fist in support of protesters earlier on Wednesday, urged the prosecution of “those who attacked police and broke the law”:

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On ABC, Chris Christie said he was trying to get Trump on the phone to ask him to call off the siege. “The president caused this protest to occur. He’s the only one who can make it stop,” he said. “The president has to come out and tell his supporters to leave the Capitol grounds and to allow the Congress to do their business peacefully, and anything short of that is an abrogation of his responsibility. … It’s not good enough to say, ‘Follow the law, be peaceful.’ ”

Former Trump White House chief of staff Reince Priebus condemned the rioters in some of the harshest terms among his peer group:

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Sen. Mitt Romney, one of Trump’s staunchest Republican critics, put it most bluntly of anyone:

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Finally, the Republican governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, called for Trump’s impeachment and removal from office:

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