Elected officials speak out one year after January 6 insurrection


FILE: In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo rioters loyal to President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — One year after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, elected officials are speaking out and sharing their thoughts on the incident.

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The following elected officials have released statements:

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia)

“One year ago, on January 6, 2021, a violent mob attempted to overturn the presidential election results and rob the American people of their duly elected leaders. Urged on by President Trump, right-wing insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol aiming to commit the greatest voter disenfranchisement effort in recent American history. The insurrection led to the tragic loss of multiple heroic law enforcement officers from Virginia, and my heart is with their loved ones on this anniversary.

The attack on the Capitol was an attack on our democracy and on the Constitution that I have sworn to defend ‘against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ As I have said before, unchallenged evil spreads like a virus. Trump’s ‘big lie’ — that because he lost, there must have been fraud — animated the attack on January 6 and has been spreading through our democracy and corroding it since then. Certain states with Republican governors and legislatures have used that same lie to restrict voting access, disempower nonpartisan election officials, and even threaten jail time for Americans who help their neighbors vote. The state officials taking these steps may not have been storming the Capitol on January 6, but they are using the same ‘big lie’ to justify disenfranchising our fellow Americans. The best way to overcome that and protect our democracy is by passing comprehensive voting rights legislation like my Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

January 6 made clear that we must take action to ensure that citizens of this country have the freedom to vote without obstacles or intimidation. That is what the Freedom to Vote Act does. The Senate must rise to the occasion and pass it.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D)

“A year ago, I was pulled out of my regular covid briefing to take a phone call. It was House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking for help as an armed mob of insurrectionists swarmed the Capitol.

The threat that day came from people who intended to overthrow the results of a democratic election, instigated by a president who refused to accept his loss. I never thought I would see such scenes in America as we saw that day.

I sent the Virginia State Police, and later the Virginia National Guard, to protect our elected representatives and the seat of our democracy. We believed, and hoped, that the threat had passed.

But today, a year later, we know it has not.

Instead, it has spread. A defeated president continues to spread lies about his loss, while members of his party are sacrificing democratic principles in an effort to appease voters and retain power.

We are in serious danger of losing our democracy because of these lies. And the threat can no longer be contained by state police and National Guard soldiers. It can only be contained by a return to the truth and to democratic principles.

When elected leaders purposely reject facts and truth, and fan the flames of conspiracy, all in pursuit of power, they are taking dangerous steps. We have now seen where those steps can lead. I pray that we go no further down this road away from democracy.”

Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd District)

“Today our nation marks the one-year anniversary of the violent assault on the United States Capitol. The Capitol Police force was overwhelmed. Members of Congress, congressional staff, reporters, and support personnel were forced to hide from the violent mob storming and ransacking our Capitol. Several individuals lost their lives, including multiple police officers. The images of that day will forever be seared in my memory.

“A year later, our nation is still coming to terms with the aftermath of that day. While we were not deterred from fulfilling our constitutional duty, it still concerns me that just hours after this violent insurrection so many of my colleagues – 147 to be exact –voted to overturn the legally cast votes of millions of our fellow Americans. 

“Sadly, the threat to our Democracy is ongoing. Adherence to the former president’s ‘Big Lie’ about the 2020 election is now the most important litmus test for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. It has been used as pretext all over the country for rampant efforts to suppress the ability of Americans to vote, to install local and state election officials willing to openly ignore the legal votes of the people, and to enact other mechanisms to overturn the results of future elections. 

“As we honor and remember the individuals who lost their lives, recognize the loss felt by their families, and help those still reeling from the mental anguish of this attack, we must commit ourselves to protecting our Democracy. The House of Representatives has already taken important steps to protect the right to vote and maintain the integrity of our Democracy through passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act. I encourage the Senate to pass these bills. But those pieces of legislation alone are not sufficient to prevent the next attempt to overturn the will of the voters.

“The important work of the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol remains ongoing to get to the truth of what caused this insurrection and what we can do to prevent another. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations of the Committee on how we can best preserve and protect our Democracy. It is our duty to the Constitution and the American people to get to the truth of January 6, 2021 to ensure that such an assault on our Democracy never happens again.” 

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia)

Warner released this video statement on Twitter.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D)

Cooper shared his statement Thursday on Twitter. Click on the tweets to read the full thread.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D)

One year ago, terrorists stormed the beacon of our democracy, motivated by an insidious lie. We honor the heroes that defended against the assault on our Capitol, including Capitol Police, VA State Police & VA National Guard. A grateful nation will never forget their sacrifice.

WAVY will continue to add statements as they come in. Look for more coverage on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection online and on-air.

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