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How Michigan politicians responded to situation at the U.S. Capitol

The U.S. Capitol building
Jose Fontano

Chaos erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, as supporters of President Trump breached the complex, bringing violence to the seat of America's federal government.

Order was eventually restored to the Capitol and voting to certify the presidential election continued, with lawmakers rejecting an attempt to overturn electoral results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. In the House, Michigan U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman (R-01), Lisa McClain (R-10), and Tim Walberg (R-07) voted to overturn the results in those two states. U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-13) did not cast a vote in either roll call.

Here’s how various Michigan politicians, including members of Congress, reacted on social media as the tense situation at the Capitol unfolded:

Rep. Peter Meijer (R - MI-3)

Rep. Dan Kildee (D - MI-5)

Rep. Jack Bergman (R - MI-1)

Rep. Haley Stevens (D - MI-11)

Rep. Fred Upton (R - MI-6)

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D -MI-8)

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D - MI-12)

Rep. Andy Levin (D - MI-9)

Rep. Levin released a longer statement Wednesday. A snippet of it appears below:

“Today started with celebrations of democracy in action in Georgia—a triumph of voters and organizers of all kinds who toiled day and night to empower working people to make their voices heard at the ballot box. “Today ends in despair. The president of the United States encouraged his supporters to overrun the United States Capitol as he continues his attempt to deny the will of the people, who elected Joe Biden overwhelmingly in November. While the situation is still unfolding, this much is clear: this is an attack on our country. This is not a dispute over policy, or procedure, which is a common—even necessary—feature of our democracy. This is an attempt to end that democracy."

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R - MI-2)

Rep. Lisa McClain (R - MI-10)

Rep. McClain released a longer statement Wednesday evening:

“Today was an atrocious day for Democracy,” said Congresswoman McClain. “What started out as Members of Congress following a sacred and Constitutional tradition, quickly was overcome by violent protestors. I wholeheartedly condemn the violence and vandalism at the Capitol and all who participated in such evil behavior. These vile acts are a slap in the face to peace-loving Americans. As the sun sets in Washington, I truly hope that we awaken tomorrow as a more unified nation that will never again allow such darkness to rear its ugly head. We are all Americans – first and foremost. A sincere thank you to all law enforcement officers, they are the heroes of today. God Bless America.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R - MI-7)

Rep. Walberg released a longer statement regarding the violence at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday evening:

“Today, the symbolic foundation of our country was attacked by violent and destructive actions. I strongly condemn this reprehensible behavior and call for all violence to cease immediately. Everyone who illegally breached U.S. Capitol grounds should be held fully accountable for their lawlessness. In a free society, we must debate our differences peacefully and through legal channels, just as was taking place on the floor of the House—never resorting to threats of violence. I am deeply grateful to the men and women of law enforcement who protect the U.S. Capitol and kept us safe from danger.”

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D - MI-14)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D - MI-13)

My team and I are safe. We are extremely dismayed and disturbed by what is currently happening at the Capitol. Posted by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Rep. Tlaib released a further statement on Thursday, where she indicated she was co-leading the introduction of the Articles of Impeachment: 

“On Wednesday, Trump supporters and white supremacists attacked the United States Capitol in what can only be described as an insurrection and a coup attempt. This was an attack on our government to keep Donald Trump in power, directly encouraged by the impeached President and his closest advisors and supporters in Congress. “It should be noted that I was not on Capitol grounds when this occurred. On Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling ill due to the necessary side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, and out of an abundance of caution I stayed home. I was horrified by the correspondence I received from my colleagues who were at the Capitol and the images I saw. “Yesterday’s attack was not a flash in the pan moment. This was the result of a buildup of hate, distrust, and disregard for reality that has been growing since even before Donald Trump announced his run for office. The impeached President built a cult of personality around idolizing a tyrant and con-artist, and tapped into the currents of white supremacy in this country to foment unhinged hate, resulting in the siege of the United State Capitol. “The world had a front row view of not only Donald Trump’s undermining of our democracy, but also saw the double standard in policing protest in this country that exists based on your race and the threat your message poses to the status quo. It’s hard not to think about the contrast in how we saw racial justice protestors brutalized by police over the summer and in years past, to how we saw terrorists handled with a soft glove by police yesterday. “Donald Trump must be removed from office immediately. I am co-leading the introduction of Articles of Impeachment and am joining efforts to hold the congressional members who supported efforts that led to yesterday’s attack accountable. There is no place in the People’s Congress for so-called representatives who would subvert our democracy and the will of the voters. Congress must reconvene now and take action. “It is clear that what happened yesterday is not a one-off event and that we must work to ensure that accountability and truth are at the forefront of our immediate actions. Trumpism is a disease that will last long after he leaves office, and we must perform our duty to get him out of the White House as soon as possible and work to create a society and transform a country to be one that is rooted in justice and equity.”

Sen. Gary Peters (D)

Also on Wednesday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former Governor Rick Snyder issued a joint statement calling for unity.

“What is unfolding today in our nation’s capital is truly appalling. Violence, vandalism, and insurrection have no place in this great country of ours. We are a nation of laws, not mobs,” Whitmer said. “While we come from different backgrounds and political parties, Governor Whitmer and I share a deep love for our country,” Snyder said. “We must always remember that we are Americans first, and we are not one another’s enemy. That’s why I join with Governor Whitmer in calling on people of goodwill across America to pray for peace, calm, and healing.” “Now is the time to put this election behind us once and for all,” Whitmer added. “We must unify as one nation to defeat our real enemy, which is the pandemic that has taken far too many of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. As Americans, there is no problem we can’t solve, and no challenge we can’t meet. Let's all stay safe. Let’s take care of each other. And let’s move forward together, as one United States of America.”

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI-4) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) have not yet released statements regarding their safety or the Electoral College tally.

This post was last updated at 8:00 a.m. on January 7, 2021.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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