LEXINGTON, Ky. — Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., turned violent during Wednesday’s certification of the Electoral College after protesters supporting President Donald Trump, many armed, clashed with police and Secret Service agents before breaching the House and Senate chambers.
Several buildings were evacuated, and Vice President Mike Pence, who presides over the certification process, was escorted off the property. The protesters’ actions are in response to President-elect Joe Biden winning the Nov. 3 General Election. Trump and his allies have routinely made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in key swing states. In some cases, his supporters have alluded to resorting to acts of violence to keep Trump in office.
Kentucky’s lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and Frankfort quickly condemned the protesters’ actions and have previously stated they would not join the contingency of Representatives and Senators that planned to object to the Electoral College certification process.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) issued a statement Thursday, Jan. 7, about Wednesday's events at the United States Capitol.
"I salute and applaud those front-line U.S. Capitol Police officers who stood bravely in harm's way during yesterday's failed insurrection," he said. "We are praying today for those who sustained injuries, some serious, in the line of duty. Congress is also deeply grateful to the local officers from D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, the federal law enforcement personnel, the National Guard, and all the other professionals who deployed to help subdue the criminals and retake the Capitol."
McConnell added protesters breaching the buildings represented a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government.
Kentucky’s junior senator, Republican Rand Paul, expressed his thoughts on Twitter, saying violence and mob-rule are wrong, un-American, and will not bring about election reform.
Violence and mob rule is wrong and un-American, and it will not bring about election reform.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 6, 2021
Today’s mayhem sets back any intelligent debate for a generation. Just stop it.
“Today’s mayhem sets back any intelligent debate for a generation,” Paul said. “Just stop it.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) tweeted he and his staff were safe before stating, “This is not who we are as Americans.”
My staff and I are safe and following the U.S. Capitol Police’s evacuation orders as large groups of Trump supporters are attempting to storm the Capitol and House buildings. This is not who we are as Americans.— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) January 6, 2021
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Vanceburg), one of seven GOP congressmen who said he would not object to the certification, tweeted “I’m safe” after the House chamber was evacuated.
Rep. Andy Barr (R-Lexington) called the violence at the Capitol “tragic, outrageous, and devastating.”
“The United States is an exceptional nation because we resolve our differences peacefully – through the ballot box, the courts, and our democratic institutions – not through violence,” Barr said in an issued statement. “What is happening at the Capitol is not who we are as a nation. It needs to stop now.”
Republican Rep. Hal Rogers said he is “appalled” to see Americans storming the Capitol to “disrupt our very foundation of democracy.”
“I believe every voice should be heard, but violent methods fall on deaf ears,” Rogers said. “I adamantly denounce the violence taking place in Washington, and threatening the lives of innocent individuals. We must maintain law and order in this country.”
Republican Rep. James Comer (R-Paducah) called the act "outrageous" and "unacceptable."
“At this time, my staff and I are safe and I am in an undisclosed location after evacuating the House floor when protestors made their way inside the Capitol," Comer said. "The outrageous rioting and violence taking place at the Capitol Building is completely unacceptable and not who we are as a nation of law and order. Mob violence is wrong regardless of political affiliation.”
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green) said he and his staff were safe following the breach.
“We all have the right to protest, but breaking into the Capitol and committing violence is not protesting. It's rioting and is unacceptable.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, said what was happening on Capitol Hill was “despicable” and condemned it, adding, “We are a country founded on the rule of law.”
“Concerns and grievances are addressed through the political process and through peaceful protests, not violence and anarchy,” he said. “This must stop.”