A mob breaching the U.S. Capitol Wednesday sparked outrage and debate across the United States.
Here are statements showing how some politicians and community leaders reacted to the news:
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Tweet, 2:38 p.m., Wednesday: "I am safe, but it's disgraceful that our country has to experience this violence because of Trump's lies, conspiracies and un-American attacks on our Democracy."
Tweet, 6:41 p.m., Wednesday: "Trump will not stop this attack on our Democracy. He continues to encourage it. Everyone in Congress should put country over party and condemn Trump for starting this attack. Let's stop it by getting back to our job of accepting the election that Trump clearly lost and Biden won."
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
"What follows is the speech I was going to deliver on the Senate floor explaining my concerns about the election in Arizona. Unfortunately, lawless protesters entered the Capitol and by consensus we decided to expedite the proceedings. I condemn the lawlessness and mourn the loss of life that occurred in the Capitol. I believe the sentiments expressed below are valid concerns of the millions of Americans who also condemn today’s illegal activities in the Capitol.
I refuse to dismiss the legitimate concerns of tens of millions of Americans who have lost faith in our institutions and the fairness of our electoral process.
Those who have lost confidence are not crazy. They are patriots who dearly love America and are alarmed by what they have witnessed over the last four years: a thoroughly corrupt FBI investigation of a duly elected president; a grossly biased media that has chosen sides and uses its power to interfere in our politics to a far greater extent than any foreign entity could ever hope to achieve; an increasingly powerful social media that censors news and conservative voices; and courts and election officials that usurp the constitutional authority of state legislatures in setting the times, places, and manner of holding elections.
Prior to election day, these patriots were reminded of the Carter-Baker Commission’s caution regarding absentee balloting: “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,” and then they saw Covid being exploited to dramatically increase the use of absentee voting and extensive efforts to simultaneously weaken the controls governing it. They also hear that one of the social media moguls, Mark Zuckerberg, spent almost half a billion dollars to increase Democrat turnout in Democrat-controlled jurisdictions, and they wonder, “Is that even legal?”
Then on election day, they saw poll watchers being thrown out or obstructed from observing. They heard reports of dead people voting, votes being cast by people who have moved out of state or reside at vacant addresses, people voting twice, once by absentee ballot and once in person, of large Democrat-controlled counties waiting until after Republican counties have reported and then dumping their vote totals in the wee hours of the morning, election officials and others refusing to turn over evidence to those investigating irregularities, and courts refusing to hear what evidence was obtained and instead dismissing election challenges on procedural grounds.
Is it any wonder that so many have lost confidence in the fairness of our election system and question the legitimacy of the result?
The first step in solving any problem is admitting you have one. My support for a bipartisan commission to address electoral concerns is meant to acknowledge the problem and highlight that having a large percentage of Americans questioning the legitimacy of our elections is a dangerous reality that must be addressed.
This is not a problem that can be swept under the rug with the hope it will somehow solve itself. I recognized this early and held a hearing in December, but was only able to scratch the surface of the issues involved. Unless the election irregularities are fully investigated and explanations provided, I fear this problem will fester within the body politic and could lead to even greater rancor and division.
While I am sympathetic and agree with many of the constitutional concerns raised by people on both sides of the political spectrum, I sincerely hope this debate will serve as a wake-up call to state legislatures to recognize the legitimacy of these concerns, fully investigate the irregularities in their states, reassert their authority over federal elections, and establish controls to restore confidence in our election system. The solution lies in the states, not with the federal government.
For the future unity of our nation, it is crucial that states properly shoulder their responsibility, take the action required, and alleviate any doubt that future elections will be fair and legitimate."
Gov. Tony Evers
“As are so many Wisconsinites and Americans, I am watching these horrifying events unfold in Washington, D.C. in disbelief. The peaceful transfer of power is at the very heart of our government and our country. This is an attack on our democracy. Period.
“There must be swift, bipartisan condemnation in no uncertain terms--by the president, by elected officials who’ve sought to sow division and distrust in our election, by elected officials who’ve failed to unequivocally denounce these efforts, all of which fed into today's events.
“We must be united in calling on these individuals to leave the U.S. Capitol and grounds immediately and peacefully. I’m praying for the safety of the elected officials, staffers, members of the press, and first responders, and for the speedy recovery of those injured.”
Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney, National Sheriffs' Association
Our great country must solve our differences in a civilized method – at the ballot box. The violence and injuries today at the U.S. Capitol is repulsive to every freedom loving American and an assault on democracy. For those choosing to use violence and intimidation, we must not permit, condone, or support it.
This dangerous and authorized incursion into the U.S. Capitol has no place in our democracy. Interrupting lawful and constitutional dialog by the Members of Congress during this seminal debate is appalling.
Destroying the Capitol, the Congress and not adhering to the rule of law in our nation’s Capital must be strongly dealt with.
The first amendment of the US Constitution is inviolable. However, it does not grant mobs the right to overrun our Capitol, damage the people’s house stop open debate or assault fellow Americans.
The Nation’s Sheriffs call upon those in D.C. protesting the outcome of the 2020 election to recognize their actions have dissembled into violence. The action to unlawfully overwhelm our Capitol are indistinguishable between that of Antifa or any other lawless groups who chose to destroy cities and communities.
We must return our country to one that leads the world in democracy and civility even during times of strong dissent. I further call upon President Trump to call for an immediate end to this criminal behavior and return our country to a calm period. There is not place in our society for violence, criminal damage and physical assaults.
Rep. Jimmy Anderson (D-WI 47th Assembly District)
Tweet, 2:15 p.m., Wednesday: "This is a coup attempt. Don't ever forget Trump encouraged these domestic terrorists to storm the U.S. Capitol to try to overthrow the people's vote. Don't ever forget everyone who enabled this President to incite this level of violence today and of the last four years."
Tweet, Thursday, on a majority of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voting not to certify Pennsylvania's electoral votes: "What Republicans are doing here is the legislative equivalent to storming the Capitol. They are trying to enact the will of the rioters to overturn the election, giving credence to their conspiratorial nonsense, and laying the groundwork for future unrest."
Sen. Melissa Agard (D-WI Senate District 16)
Twitter thread, Wednesday:
"I am thinking of my federal colleagues and those who were responding to the horrific events in Washington DC today. What we saw today was insurrection - the fact that some Republicans are trying to draw comparisons to the peaceful Act 10 protests is absurd."
"Lives were at risk today due to the dangerous rhetoric of the President. During Act 10, my family walked there everyday, for many weeks in a row. At no point did I feel unsafe for myself and my children. What we saw in DC today is not the same."
"I am recommitting myself now more than ever to protecting our democracy and reestablishing trust in our electoral systems."
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI 2nd District)
Twitter video, 4:14 p.m., Wednesday: "...Donald Trump has continued to be the manchild that he's been for the last four years and he's still claiming the election was stolen. Despite telling people to stand down, he's not doing it in any serious way. Joe Biden, made, I think, a very strong statement about what this country's about, but you're starting to see calls for the 25th amendment. Even the National Association of Manufacturers has asked Vice President Pence to step in. This is pretty serious. We need to have our country be the beacon of democracy that it is for the world - it's certainly not today, it's certainly not under Donald Trump, and if he won't step up, we need responsible leaders. We're still safe, we're going to be here and I hope that we'll work through the night to certify the electors. We can't let an attempted coup stop the business of the federal government."
Other Pocan tweets from Wednesday:
"Yes, we should impeach [President Trump]. But I don't have much faith in [Senate Republicans] to defend our democracy and remove him. Invoke the 25th amendment and he can be gone in hours. His conduct is unbecoming a President."
"Donald Trump incited domestic terrorism today. The @VP must invoke the 25th amendment."
"Frankly, we don't need @GOP "thoughts and prayers," [Senator Mike Lee], we need you to stand up against a coup, led by your President.
"There is no evidence that 'antifa' attacked the capitol today. But there's overwhelming evidence that despite a Trump-supported attempted coup by violent terrorists, 121 of my @GOP colleagues still have no backbone."
Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R-WI Assembly District 38)
“As I have shared repeatedly in statements condemning violent riots and protests over the course of 2020, I absolutely support every citizen’s First Amendment right to make their voice heard. However, we cannot and must not stand for destruction and violence in any form. January 6th 2021, was a dark day in America. What happened in our nation’s capital was outrageous and absolutely indefensible.
“Having worked in a State Capitol that has had windows smashed and then boarded up, with great concern about the safety for myself and staff, it would be extremely hypocritical to condemn what happened in Madison and not decry what happened in Washington, DC. In order to move forward and govern in this era of deep, national fracture, civility and decency must be evident in the actions of both our government and its citizens.
“It is clear that America has a long way to go towards unifying and healing. Political violence serves only to validate and empower our nation’s enemies. We are better than this, my fellow citizens. Let’s demonstrate this fact in the way we treat one another.”