Leaders across D.C., Maryland and Virginia — including lawmakers who were rushed to safety after a mob overran the U.S. Capitol — condemned the violence and chaos Wednesday, calling it an attack on the country’s democratic values.
Hogan: ‘All Americans should be outraged’
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at a Thursday news conference called the attack on the U.S. Capitol “a violent and heinous assault.”
Hogan said he got a call from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who was sheltering with other Congressional leaders, on Wednesday that the Capitol Police were overwhelmed, and there was a lack of federal law enforcement presence and that the leaders needed help from Maryland.
“I also told them that I authorized the mobilization of the Maryland National Guard, and that I was ready, willing and able to deploy them to the Capitol,” the Republican governor said. “However, we were repeatedly denied approval to do so.”
He said there was a back-and-forth trying to get Department of Defense authorization to send the Maryland National Guard across the border to D.C. Then an hour and a half later, Hogan said he got a call from Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who gave the green light.
“I just want to assure all Americans that the state of Maryland will do anything and everything we possibly can to continue to secure our nation’s capital to ensure the peaceful transition of power,” Hogan said, adding that the state was extending the Guard’s mission in D.C. through the Jan. 20 inauguration and the end of the month.
On Wednesday night, Hogan also posted a video statement to Twitter, using similarly strong terms to decry the violence and disorder. “All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation’s capital. This is a heinous and violent assault on the heart of our democracy,” he said.
The mobs that overran the Capitol “are threatening the lives of members of Congress and the vice president for upholding the Constitution and for affirming the voters’ choice of Joe Biden as our next president,” Hogan had said. “I will not stand for any of this, nor should any American.”
I never thought I’d see a day like this in America. I am not going to stand for this, and neither should any American.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) January 6, 2021
On Wednesday, Hogan mobilized 500 members of the Maryland National Guard and 200 state troopers to go to D.C. to help restore order at the Capitol.
Montgomery County had also sent dozens of officers to D.C. to help restore order.
“This is very different; this is people trying to overthrow the government. Seemed like the least we could do is to provide (Bowser) with the support she asked for to make sure that she could keep D.C. safe,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen: ‘Bad day for our democracy’
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., called for President Donald Trump’s removal from office in a statement Thursday:
While there are only 13 days left of his presidency, each day Trump remains a ticking time bomb aimed at the heart of our democracy. Moreover, we must establish a clear precedent that this kind of seditious conduct is unacceptable. That is why I support his immediate removal from office.
Van Hollen added that “every day Trump remains in office presents a grave danger to our republic.”
Earlier, Van Hollen said he was heading to the Senate floor to make remarks as Congress formally counted electoral votes when he was intercepted by Capitol Police, telling him the building was on lockdown, and later watched the scenes of rioting on the TV “from a safe place.”
“It was a really bad day for our democracy yesterday,” Van Hollen told WTOP Thursday morning, saying he saw offices ransacked and rioters on the floor of the Senate and House.
He pointed to the image of one of the rioters taking down an American flag at the Capitol hoisting up a Trump flag. “And that really, you know, captured what this was all about,” Van Hollen said, “because we have a president who refuses to accept the outcome of an election, essentially sending this crowd down to Capitol Hill.”
The crowd of Trump supporters descended on Capitol Hill following remarks from the president at a rally near the White House at which he addressed supporters and told them he would never concede the election.
Several hours after lawmakers were rushed to safety, some hurriedly handed gas masks, they returned to continue formally counting the Electoral College votes and affirmed Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
“The good news for our democracy, if there is any from yesterday, is that we persevered, late into the night, and finished the job and made it very clear that a mob, a violent mob, wasn’t going to overturn our democratic process,” Van Hollen said.
Van Hollen said he thanked Capitol Police officers “who put themselves in harm’s way” to protect lawmakers but said there would be a review of how law enforcement handled the situation.
Responding to the prospect that the 25th Amendment could be invoked to remove Trump office before his term expires Jan. 20, Van Hollen said, “My view is we should have looked at that option much earlier … And it’s never too late to take a look.”
Bowser: ‘Unprecedented attack’ on American democracy
“We saw unprecedented attack on our American democracy incited by the United States president and he must be held accountable,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said late Wednesday night at a news conference. Bowser said Trump’s “constant and divisive rhetoric led to the abhorrent actions we saw today. And sadly, it led to a loss of life that will forever stain, what could have been and what should have been a peaceful transfer of power. Again, he must be held accountable.”
With the Electoral College votes certified, Bowser said that the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden would send “a clear message to our nation and the world that despite actions of an unhinged president and those that believe the baseless conspiracies that have been peddled by him … that the United States remains strong.”
She said that Trump should be held accountable for the attack on the Capitol Building.
“What happened yesterday is what he wanted to happen, and we must not underestimate what damage he can do to our nation and our democracy over the next two weeks,” Bowser said.
DC Congresswoman calls for Presidential Commission after country ‘invaded from within’
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton told WTOP that Wednesday’s events called for the creation of a Presidential Commission to look into what went wrong in the lead up to the mob overtaking the Capitol building.
“The goal first is to find out what we did wrong and make sure it can never happen again — that’s what all presidential commissions are about,” Norton said. “We have done nothing to make sure a mob can’t invade the Capitol and destroy parts of it — make it unusable.”
Norton laid the blame at Trump’s feet, saying his inflammatory rhetoric instigated the riot.
“He made no bones about telling his people to come to the Capitol; he did it when the electoral count was being done on purpose,” she said. “He instigated this insurrection.”
Norton joined a growing number of leaders calling for the resignation of the chief of the Capitol Police.
She also said that with Democrats picking up two more Senate seats after the runoff election in Georgia, D.C. statehood should be very seriously considered in the coming months.
“Of course it’ll take a good deal more work, but in less than year — look how far we’ve gotten since June on D.C. statehood.”
Prince George’s County Executive: Ready to assist after ‘heinous and violent attack’
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement that the county was “standing ready and willing to assist” both D.C. and other neighbors in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol.
Alsobrooks said Wednesday’s events were “a heinous and violent attack,” and she condemned Trump and other lawmakers for their rhetoric that spurred on the events at the Capitol.
She said the county’s police and fire departments had been called in to assist with the situation in D.C., and that some members of the Prince George’s Police Department have remained in the District to help in the aftermath.
“We are fiercely praying for the District of Columbia, our region and our nation,” Alsobrooks said. “Despite the deep divisions that we have seen these past several years, now is truly the time that we must come together as Americans. As we all reflect on the events that have occurred, I pray we can come together and begin the healing process for our nation.”
DC attorney general: ‘Our federal partners let us down’
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said federal officials “should have been prepared” for the mobs that marched on the Capitol and said “our federal partners let us down” in their response to the chaos.
Speaking on MSNBC Thursday morning, Racine noted the scaled-down federal law enforcement presence Wednesday, compared to the massive presence footprint in D.C. during racial justice protests over the summer, including at Lafayette Square.
“D.C. law enforcement officers, frankly, they did their jobs,” Racine said. “They helped the Capitol Police restore order and arrested folks pursuant to the curfew order that Mayor Bowser invoked. Our federal partners let us down.”
Racine also called for a “full accounting” and investigation of the Capitol breach.
“That means FBI, the videotapes, the photos, the social media — go ahead and fully investigate and fully prosecute those who terrorized the Capitol,” he said.
Regarding the president, Racine said, “He’s unfit for office.” Invoking the 25th Amendment, under which the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could remove presidential duties from Trump, would be the first time it’s ever happened. “But we know it’s deserved,” Racine said.
Rep. John Sarbanes: ‘Hyper vigilance’ from Congress
Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat, who represents Maryland’s 3rd District, said he also sheltered in his office during the Capitol lockdown Wednesday afternoon.
He said, “There’s no question there’s going to be an inquiry” into the security breakdown.
Sarbanes said the breach of the Capitol was alarming to lawmakers.
“We start from a place of thinking that it’s very secure, and to see the breach that occurred yesterday, I think, was quite jarring,” Sarbanes said.
Sarbanes said he expects “hyper vigilance” from Congress about the use of the 25th Amendment or any “measures are that we have at our disposal to respond quickly if we see the need for it.”
Sarbanes said he is also focused on the upcoming presidential transition and to “get Joe Biden and Kamala into the White House, where, I think, they can begin the very arduous task, but critical task of pulling our country together.”
Northam: ‘Humiliating assault’
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who also mobilized hundreds of National Guard members at D.C.’s request, called the violence at the Capitol “nothing short of an armed insurrection and a humiliating assault on American democracy.”
Northam also cast blame on Trump for failing to accept the election results and promoting conspiracy theories. “The President incited this mob with his refusal to accept the lawful results of a fair and secure election.”
The violence we saw at the U.S. Capitol today was nothing short of an armed insurrection and a humiliating assault on American democracy.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 7, 2021