After what Rep. Mikie Sherrill called “an obscene attack on our democracy,” Congressional leaders completed the certification of the Electoral College results on Jan. 7 hours after a mob of protestors overtook the Capitol Building who one one North Jersey politician said were incited by President Donald Trump.
Reps. Sherrill, Josh Gottheimer, Bill Pascrell, Albio Sires and Donald Payne along with Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker reported they were all unharmed after Capitol Police were overwhelmed and the mob stormed the House of Representatives as well as the U.S. Senate, leaving one woman dead.
Rep. Pascrell laid the blame for what President-elect Joe Biden called an “insurrection” at the feet of Republicans.
“Today inside the Capitol, Republicans sought to tear down our democracy while the right wing extremist mob they whipped up outside is violently trying to do the same,” said Pascrell in a press statement. “This attempted coup is treasonous. It was incited directly by Donald Trump and some Congressional Republicans. When he leaves office Trump must be prosecuted for his crimes, perhaps including his incitement to violence.”
The congressman faulted members of the GOP that followed the footsteps of President Trump.
“I say this: once the fascist genie has been let out of the bottle, he can’t be forced back in,” said Pascrell. “Violent fascism at the footsteps of our national legislature was fed by Republicans and years of fomenting extremism against our government. They built this. This authoritarianism will not disappear in 14 days.”
“It cannot be ignored any longer. The long-term preservation of democracy is in our hands right now. It is the challenge of our time to eradicate this poison starting now.”
Hurting Worldwide Standing
Sen. Menendez said the actions of the domestic terrorists would put smiles on the faces of foreign leaders in Russia and China who see an America at war with itself, no longer a credible messenger of democratic values.
“How we arrived at this moment…should be no mystery. This was not an act of patriotism, but an act of sedition,” said New Jersey’s senior senator. “The President poured fuel on that fire by inciting a lawless and violent takeover of the United States Capitol.”
The senator placed equal blame on Republicans who have supported the President’s “meritless” efforts to disrupt the electoral college votes by parroting wild and baseless conspiracy theories.
“It is outrageous that some members of the House and Senate would spread lies instead of upholding their oath to the Constitution, to stand up for truth, democracy, and the rule of law” said Menendez. “It is a dark day in our country’s history. But we will withstand it.”
Rep. Gottheimer noted the violent mob that attack and occupied the Capitol did not come to be peacefully as their “attempt to obstruct democracy was foiled.”
“They used improvised explosives, smashed windows, broke down doors, violently fought against, and injured, our law enforcement officers, and tore down the American flag,” said Gottheimer. “All of this was done in an attempt to overturn an election and those involved in today’s attacks should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The spotlight showed President Trump encouraging violence and insurrection against the United States government, according to the congressman.
“In the coming days, months, and years ahead, it is more important than ever that lawmakers from both parties come together and commit to unity, civility, and a loyalty to truth; to fight disinformation, reject bigotry, and embrace our calling to a higher purpose and help America out of these dark days,” remarked Gottheimer. “In fourteen days, President-elect Biden will be sworn in. It is more important than ever for the United States to honor a peaceful transition of power — the very heart of our democracy, and what makes us the greatest country in the world.”
Rep. Sires did not mince any words, saying “If this was happening in any other country we would be calling it a coup attempt. “
Sires noted the global ramifications of Trump actions, as those watching a “sitting American President attempted to takedown democracy by inciting chaos and violence, because he cannot accept that he lost an election.”
“The world was watching the symbol of democracy, our country’s Capitol, as insurrectionists stormed the building,” he said. “We are fortunate that after four years President Trump has not succeeded in taking down our institutions of democracy, but he has come precipitously close. There must be legal consequences for what happened today.”
State Troopers Deployed
New Jersey State Troopers were sent to help restore order in the national capitol, in what Gov. Phil Murphy characterized it as “one of the darkest days in American history.”
State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26), who was the co-chair for President Trump’s re-election campaign in New Jersey, said those who disrupted the proceedings in Washington should not be held up as heroes.
“Frustrations no matter how hot should never be a justification for violating and harming others,” said Pennacchio. “If we are to be worthy of keeping this Democratic experiment given to us by our founding fathers, then we must be tolerant and occasionally accepting of each other’s differences.”
View from Trenton
State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) released a joint statement condemning the unruly mob in the Capitol.
“What we are witnessing in Washington is not how our democracy is supposed to function. The protestors who have breached the United States Capitol building illegally should…face the full force of the law,” the joint statement read.
State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-40) added, “This is the United States, and if we truly value our nation’s freedoms, we must adhere to the laws of the land and respect the police and our fellow Americans. The forefathers of our nation, whose vision, wisdom and leadership gave birth to our exemplary Republic, would be distressed and saddened by today’s events.”