Events in Washington, D.C. stunned the nation Wednesday as the United States Capitol was overrun by supporters of President Donald Trump, who were rioting over the November presidential election results. While order was eventually restored and the rioters turned away, the fallout from the wild scene is, perhaps, just beginning.
Following the riot, leaders around Delaware County and the state have spoken out to condemn the act and call for peace with less than two weeks remaining until President-Elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn into office.
“There is no justification for the violence and desecration in the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday,” County Commissioner Barb Lewis told The Gazette. “We are Americans, and thanks to the framers of our Constitution, we have the tools in place to resolve our differences peacefully. It is clear that many people’s confidence in our electoral system has been badly shaken this year, and we do have an obligation to restore the integrity of this process.
“But this must be done peacefully through our elected representatives and never by force,” she added. “If I can take away any consolation from Wednesday’s events, it’s that our uniquely American system of governance did hold, and I believe that, peacefully, we will achieve the reforms that are needed.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost called for those involved in the riots to receive proper justice, saying, “The rule of law means the same rules for everybody. Those of us who called for the prosecution of the people who stormed the federal courthouse in Portland must apply the same demand to those who stormed the Capitol today.”
Yost added, “The color of your skin or the slogan upon your banner must not change what is and is not acceptable.”
In a prepared statement, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said, “These shameful actions to disrupt a session of Congress and vandalize the Capitol Building should never happen in our great republic. The U.S. Capitol belongs to every American and is a symbol of the citadel of democracy. An attack on the Capitol Building is an attack on every American. Likewise, an attack on our nation’s brave law enforcement officers is an attack on the rule of law and the safety and security of all Americans.”
United States Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called the rioters “domestic terrorists” and blamed Trump for inciting the chaos.
“This was his last, desperate attempt to overturn the will of the American voters, but he failed, and democracy won,” Brown said. “We must hold the president accountable for inciting this attack on our country. The cabinet and vice president should immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, to prevent him from doing more damage between now and Inauguration Day.”
Peg Watkins, chairwoman of the Delaware County Democratic Party, expressed similar thoughts as Brown, placing the blame for Wednesday’s events on Trump.
“Republicans have not stood up to him and that’s a shameful thing for their party,” Watkins said. “Trump is not truly a Republican; he’s an egotist who is self-serving. He puts himself first and has never put America first.”
The Delaware County Republican Party chairman was unable to be reached for comment.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin said of the riot, “This country is founded on the liberty to have debate and protests, but when violence is the outcome and the law is broken, it’s truly disturbing. I still believe in this democracy, our Constitution, and our republic, and I know a lot of good people who have differing opinions but treat each other with respect. That’s what we need to get back to.”
Asked his thoughts on the lack of arrests made during the riot, Martin said that in midst of chaos, law enforcement is trying to restore order.
“I think that when you look across the broad spectrum of riots in this country over the last six or eight months that the arrests generally come after order has been restored and the investigations identify who the people are and determine the nature of the crimes they’ve committed,” he said.
Martin added that riots have been happening across the country throughout the past year, and he’s not sure if “any single group has gotten more liberty than another. But at the end of the day, if you break the law, you should be held accountable for your behavior.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.