Gov. Jared Polis speaks with a reporter during a press conference on Sept. 29, 2020. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)
Jan. 6, 2021, will go down in history as the day that a violent mob forced its way into the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the counting of Electoral College votes.
Amid the chaos, lawmakers and staff were evacuated as a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters pushed past barricades and eventually made its way to the House and Senate floors. An armed standoff took place at the entrance to the House chamber, where Capitol Police officers aimed their weapons at rioters, who shattered glass panels on the door. A woman who was shot inside the Capitol later died, police said.
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Democrats in large part blamed Trump for inciting the violence. The outgoing president has refused to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden — even after lawsuits filed by Trump’s supporters have failed at the Supreme Court — and Trump at a recent rally had encouraged demonstrators to march on the Capitol.
Many of Colorado’s elected officials weighed in on the historic day with statements and social media posts. Below are some of their reactions.
• Joint statement from Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor:
“In America, we hold free, fair, and secure elections and we honor the outcome. We respect the rule of law and an assault on our democratic republic is an assault on all of us who believe in our constitution and what makes our country extraordinary. We respect the peaceful transition of power. The alarming scenes that are unfolding in Washington are something you might expect to see in countries far from our shores, not in our nation’s capitol, and certainly not in the hallowed halls or on the floor of Congress. We are relieved that Colorado’s federal delegation is safe. We all must step up to protect the institutions of our republic, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.”
• Alan Kennedy, Colorado Democratic presidential elector:
“As a Colorado presidential elector and a veteran, I am appalled that Trump incited insurrection to prevent Pence from counting our certified electoral votes as required by the Constitution. Trump has pushed our democracy beyond the breaking point and we are seeing the consequences on live television. We are better than this. But make no mistake: We the People will prevail.”
• Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, House Speaker-designate Alec Garnett, D-Denver, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo:
“American democracy is under attack. Nothing short of a siege is raining down on Congress, incited by a president who has refused to give up power after a free and fair election and enabled by those willing to turn a blind eye as our foundational principles are trampled. …Our country has a rich history of bipartisan cooperation and common sense. We must work together to ensure that these values prevail again and encourage the public to remain peaceful and solemn in the face of those who wish to divide us.”
• Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser:
“The attack on the U.S. Capitol today is not only an assault on one of our iconic democratic structures, it is an assault on democracy itself. The mob responsible for today’s disgraceful spectacle in our Nation’s Capitol, and those who encouraged their behavior, must be held accountable. …America represents a bold idea — a commitment to just, orderly, and democratic self-governance. We must all do our part to live up to that idea and be our best authentic selves, particularly during this challenging time.”
• Denver Mayor Michael Hancock:
“What we are witnessing today in Washington is an assault on our democracy at the U.S. Capitol, perpetrated by extremists and incited by elected leaders who refuse to accept the outcome of the presidential election. The votes have been cast and the results have been certified. But today, an attempt to thwart the democratic process by rioters occurred and the constitutional duty of the Congress has been disrupted in a way that brings shame in the eyes of the world. The president should immediately, publicly and unequivocally denounce the actions of his supporters, these rioters should immediately disperse, and Congress should be allowed to approve the votes cast by the Electoral College free of interference from any mob, including the current occupant of the White House and his supporters.”
• U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver:
“Today, the president of the United States instigated a riot and urged his supporters to lay siege to the U.S. Capitol Building to try to prevent us from certifying the election for his opponent. Make no mistake: This was not a protest, it was an attempted coup. …I was evacuated from the Capitol and am safe at an undisclosed location. We will return to the floor as soon as possible to finish certifying the results of the electoral college and declaring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the next president and vice president of the United States.”
• Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet:
“A day meant to affirm American democracy has become one of the darkest in our history. Reckless incitement by President Trump has ended in a violent, unprecedented breach of the United States Capitol by his supporters. …We should accept nothing less than an exercise in self-government animated by decency, integrity, truth, and a sense of shared responsibility to the next generation.
“I’m eager to return to the Senate, so we can send a different signal to the world, and I hope that will happen tonight.”
• State Minority Leader Chris Holbert:
“Watching from afar, it saddens me to see our great nation so divided as violence has erupted in Washington D.C. While I honor the people’s right to peacefully protest, I strongly condemn such violence and the siege upon our nation’s Capitol. …Let us all renew our allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and to the Colorado constitution and work together in the interests of the People of Colorado.”
On Twitter, Colorado’s elected leaders continued to share their thoughts into the evening of Jan. 6.
“Congress will reconvene tonight,” state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, said on Twitter at 4:40 p.m. “Thank you to every single representative who will return to continue the work of the American people. You are the true patriots.”
Congress will reconvene tonight. Thank you to every single representative who will return to continue the work of the American people. You are the true patriots.
— Leslie Herod (@leslieherod) January 6, 2021
“Both sides storm the US Capitol and force members into hiding. Totally peaceful,” Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver,” tweeted at 4:39 p.m. “Both sides reject the election results and make up claims that the election has been stolen.
“Oh, you mean only one side does that? Interesting…”
Both sides storm the US Capitol and force members into hiding. Totally peaceful. Both sides reject the election results and make up claims that the election has been stolen.
Oh, you mean only one side does that? Interesting…
— Rep. Steven Woodrow (@WoodrowForCO) January 6, 2021
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs who had planned to object to the electoral votes, tweeted at 5:17 p.m.: “This mob will not control our government. We have survived worse and our Republic must continue. Tonight, we should get back to work and show why we are the greatest Democracy in the world.
The mob will not control our government. We have survived worse and our Republic must continue. Tonight, we should get back to work and show why we are the greatest Democracy in the world.
— Rep. Doug Lamborn (@RepDLamborn) January 7, 2021
Incoming state House Republican Leader Hugh McKean of Loveland said at 5:41 p.m. that he was “heartbroken to see the heart of our Republic overrun by the very people it is designed to serve.”
“We are sick to see our people losing faith in their institutions of government and the rule of law,” McKean continued. “Yet, just as we criticized the actions of protestors at our own Colorado State Capitol this past spring, we condemn today’s desecration of the People’s House and whose actions do a disservice to all those who have served this (country) and fought and died for our freedoms.”
We have watched the ongoing developments at the United States Capitol building with great sadness, and we are heartbroken to see the heart of our Republic overrun by the very people it is designed to serve.
— Hugh McKean (@hmckean) January 7, 2021
whose actions do a disservice to all those who have served this county and fought and died for our freedoms.
— Hugh McKean (@hmckean) January 7, 2021
“Impeach,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a one-word tweet at 6:39 p.m.
— Jena Griswold (@JenaGriswold) January 7, 2021
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