XENIA — In an unprecedented attack on American democracy, protesters at Capitol Hill attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election as Congress was certifying the electoral college. The violent insurrection by Trump supporters has led to swift condemnation from Republicans and Democrats across the country. Ohio lawmakers responded to the incident in public comments Wednesday and Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown joined many lawmakers in calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, removing President Trump from office.
“Yesterday was a dark day for our country,” he said. “Domestic terrorists attacked our seat of government, at the behest of the President of the United States. This was his last, desperate attempt to overturn the will of the American voters, but he failed, and democracy won.”
“We must hold the president accountable for inciting this attack on our country,” Brown added. “The cabinet and vice president should immediately invoke the 25th Amendment.”
Republican Rep. Mike Turner made a statement on Twitter as the riot was unfolding, calling on President Trump to call off the protesters.
“I am appalled at what is occurring in the US Capitol right now,” Turner said. “President Trump needs to call for an end to this violence and permit Congress to facilitate a peaceful transition of power.”
Turner and other lawmakers were reportedly able to get to safety after sheltering in place at the Capitol building, according to multiple sources.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman spoke after the formal certification of the Electoral College, saying though he endorsed Trump for President, he cannot support establishing a dangerous precedent where Congress can inappropriately reverse the will of the voters.
“We will not be intimidated,” Portman said. “We will not be disrupted from our work; here in the citadel of democracy, we will continue to do the work of the people. Mob rule is not going to prevail here.”
Portman also addressed the legal challenges that President Trump has issued against the 2020 election, reiterating that multiple lawsuits have found Trump’s claims of election fraud unfounded.
“I supported the Trump campaign’s right to pursue recounts, they had every right to do it, and legal challenges,” Portman said. “But it is also true that after two months of recounts and legal challenges, not a single state recount changed the result. And of the dozens of lawsuits filed, not one found evidence of fraud or irregularities widespread enough to change the result of the election. This was the finding of numerous Republican-appointed judges and the Trump administration’s own Department of Justice.”
State Rep. Brian Lampton — who was sworn in earlier this week — issued a statement following the incident, saying “I am deeply disturbed and saddened by watching the events unfolding at the nation’s Capital. I support Americans’ rights to peacefully protest, but what we saw today were violent riots.
“As State Representative of Ohio’s 73rd house district, I will defend your right to peacefully protest and voice your opinions in a non-violent, respectful manner. It is only then that we will unite and make a difference.”
In an interview Thursday, Lampton condemned the incident outright.
“I totally condemn any kind of riot, or violence for any reason,” he said. “There’s no need for it. Lawmakers, and all of us, we need to follow the Constitution and follow the law.”
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.