PROVIDENCE —Rhode Island’s congressional delegation on Wednesday reported that they were safe after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol, and they condemned the violence as an attack on democracy.
“This is outrageous, and the president caused it,” US Representative David N. Cicilline tweeted. “We should impeach and convict him tomorrow.”
Cicilline condemned the “domestic terrorists and extremists” who took over the US Capitol Building Wednesday, but told the Globe he is hopeful that Congress will still meet later in the day to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Shortly after 4 p.m., Cicilline said he was safe in his office with several staff members and US Representative Ted Lieu of California. He said he does not believe his office was breached and he was already in his office when rioters stormed the capitol.
“This has really been shocking to watch and obviously really sad to see individuals who are extremists take over the capitol building and interrupt the proceedings to certify the Electoral College vote,” Cicilline said.
Cicilline said it is a “sad day for our country,” but hoped his Republican colleagues would agree to move quickly to certify Biden’s victory on Wednesday.
“It could happen very quickly if they abandon the effort to overturn the results of a Democratic election,” he said.
Cicilline was critical of Republicans who have “facilitated and enabled this president.”
“They’ve all contributed to this happening,” he said. He later tweeted that he was urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Vice President Pence can help put down this attempted coup if he wants to.— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) January 6, 2021
I’m circulating a letter urging him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
If he doesn’t, then Congress should go ahead and impeach the President.
US Senator Jack Reed tweeted, “I’m safe & determined to defend our democracy from these heinous attacks. This violent mob, incited by Trump, breached the Capitol, but our work continues & our principles endure. They will not destroy our democracy, undo the election, or subvert the will of the American People!”
I'm safe & determined to defend our democracy from these heinous attacks. This violent mob, incited by Trump, breached the Capitol, but our work continues & our principles endure. They will not destroy our democracy, undo the election, or subvert the will of the American People!— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) January 6, 2021
Reached by telephone, Representative James R. Langevin said, “This is not a protest anymore. This is a coup. It’s outrageous.”
He said Trump needs to take responsibility and should be on television condemning the violence. The president issued a video statement in which he repeated without evidence that the election had been “stolen” and he had won by a “landslide.”
Langevin said he was in his office watching the proceedings when the Trump demonstrators stormed the Capitol. He said that he and his staff were safe, but said it was “a very sad and disturbing day for our country.”
Lawmakers had convened for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College results.
“It did not have to be this way. This really should be a ceremonial procedure. It’s Congress’s role to receive those votes and count those votes,” Langevin said. “This process has unfortunately been hijacked by some Republicans.”
He noted that other Republicans had spoken up and condemned the attempts to subvert the will of the people. But he said he was afraid of something like this happen.
“It’s certainly one of my greatest fears,” Langevin said. said. “President Trump has not discouraged the protests. He’s encouraged them and questioned the legitimacy of the elections and tried in many different ways to cast doubt on the process.”
US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted that he was safe, saying, “Senators have been evacuated to a nearby building. Waiting for Capitol Police to retake Capitol and restore order.”
Whitehouse echoed Joe Biden’s comment that he was “shocked and saddened.” But, he said, “I’m still mad as hell at the spectacle we’ve just presented to the world.”
Minutes before the 6 p.m. curfew imposed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was set to go into effect, Whitehouse tweeted that he was eager to get back to the vote count.
Eager to get back to proceedings as soon as possible. Tonight, I hope. Day of infamy ought to end with us doing our jobs. Many colleagues eager to get back on Floor asap.— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) January 6, 2021
Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo tweeted, “Praying for the safety of members of Congress, staff, Capitol Police, media, first responders, and all public servants at the Capitol, and for a peaceful end to this assault on our democracy.”
Raimondo and all members of the state’s congressional delegation are Democrats.
Rhode Island Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki said she was at a GOP event in Jacksonville, Fla., when she learned that a pipe bomb had been found at the RNC headquarters in Washington, D.C., and that Trump supporters had stormed the US Capitol.
“Obviously, it’s horrifying,” Cienki said of both events. “We condemn any illegal activity in the strongest possible way. We believe in a constitutional republic, and we believe that those individuals that are found to participate in this illegal activity should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We are the party of law and order, and we absolutely do not condone this behavior.”
When asked for reaction to the violence at the US Capitol, House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi, a Block Island Republican, said, “I eschew violence of all kinds.”
Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung described today’s protest as “disgusting” and called for a peaceful transfer of power.
I’ve been a D and a R, but always an American first. This is insane. This is disgusting. But the weak statement from @POTUS was just as bad. The election is over, Biden is the President-Elect, & the peaceful transfer of power our democracy deserves must happen. https://t.co/Hv1BhybsDn— Mayor Allan Fung (@AllanFungRI) January 6, 2021
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said, “My heart goes out to the innocent people who were put in harm’s way by today’s shameful attack on the U.S. Capitol. The terrorists who stormed the Capitol — and the politicians and pundits who instigated them by promoting baseless conspiracies — are attempting to undermine the democratic system that Americans hold dear. They will not succeed. Our democratic institutions will endure, the peaceful power of transition will continue, and our nation will heal.”
Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea called the storming of the Capitol “abhorrent.”
“As I heartbrokenly explained to my children what was happening, I told them that this mob will not have their way,” she said. “Congress will still convene and do its constitutional duty. Joe Biden will be our next President and Kamala Harris our next Vice President because the 2020 election was fair and secure.”
Gorbea said leadership matters. “President Trump’s lies and disinformation on our election have fueled this attack on our democracy,” she said. “We must begin to rebuild our country together with all deliberate speed.”
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, issued a statement, saying, “President Trump and his allies, who enable him, have again shown themselves to be dangerous threats to our democracy. They perpetuate a false myth of widespread voter fraud because they don’t like the clear results of the November election.”
He blamed Trump for inciting the violence.
“This seditious attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is tantamount to a coup attempt,” Ruggerio said. “It is a disgrace. If he had any shame he would be ashamed. My prayers are with everyone in the capitol building today. I look forward with hope to January 20, when the Biden administration will begin the process of healing divisions that have been stoked at every turn by the current president.”
House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, said the election is over and it’s time to move on. “Instead of obsessing about the November election that he lost, President Trump should be focused in his final days in office on the distribution of the badly needed COVID vaccine,” he said.
On Wednesday night, Shekarchi and Ruggerio announced that, after consulting with the Rhode Island State Police about the day’s events in Washington, they were advising all legislative employees to work from home on Thursday because they “felt it was in the best interest of all their employees.”
Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, City Council President Sabina Matos, and other City Council members issued a joint statement, saying, “Tonight, we rise together and say, ‘enough.’ Enough of hate-filled rhetoric that is unproductive, irresponsible, and unpresidential from the sitting President of the United States. Enough disinformation campaigns on social media. Enough of doubting the will of the American People - who risked their lives to cast their ballots in this monumental election. We are better than this.”
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