Dozens of Md. lawmakers call on Rep. Harris to resign after Capitol riot

Dozens of Maryland lawmakers have signed a letter urging Rep. Andy Harris — Maryland’s only Republican member of Congress — to resign in the wake of a violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol building.

The letter, signed by 71 members of the house of delegates and 13 members of the state Senate, accuses Harris of stoking insurrection in the run-up to Wednesday’s siege.

The state lawmakers wrote that they believed Harris had violated an oath to support the democratic process. They say it is an oath to put loyalty to the Constitution and country ahead of political parties and elected officials.

“Representative Harris, we believe that you have violated that oath. You have for months joined in cynical, politically motivated attempts to undermine the legitimate, free, and fair election that selected Joe Bid as the next President of the United States. You have joined with those who have trafficked in lies and conspiracy theories, who have incited division and hate, in the furtherance of a political agenda,” the letter said.

The letter said the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was motivated by “rhetoric and disinformation” that had been trafficked for months.

“Rather than recognizing that your words and behavior in office have damaged our democracy, have threatened our Constitution, and have undermined the nation you are sworn to, your response to the attack on our Capitol was to continue to use the same words and behavior,” lawmakers wrote.

The Maryland Democratic Party late last week said Harris should resign, claiming such rhetoric made him “complicit” in the Capitol riot.

Harris represents Maryland’s 1st congressional district, which includes the Eastern Shore and parts of Cecil, Baltimore, Harford and Carroll counties.

A statement from Democratic chair Yvette Lewis accused Harris and other Republican members of Congress of inciting the attack after using “inflammatory rhetoric and blatant falsehoods” regarding the presidential election results.

Harris said he would not be stepping down.

“Some Marylanders are even calling for my resignation, which I will not do,” Harris said in a statement.

Harris was the only Maryland lawmaker to join more than 100 Republican House members who voted to contest the election results after the mob was cleared and Congress reconvened to confirm Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Harris said his concerns over voter fraud were “legitimate constitutional concerns” and he “felt compelled to highlight those concerns during the formal vote count.”

“We did not call for the overthrowing of an election,” he said.

Protesters were urged by Trump during a rally near the White House Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm Biden’s presidential victory. The Capitol siege by the mob left five dead, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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