Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Republicans turn on Trump after mob violence at the Capitol

Photo of a Trump supporter waving a Trump 2020 flag in front of the Capitol building
Trump supporters breached security and entered the Capitol Wednesday as Congress debated the 2020 Electoral Vote certification. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty

As pro-Trump rioters broke windows and flooded the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many Republicans called for an end to the violence and urged President Trump to condemn the mob's actions.

Why it matters: Some Republicans came right out and blamed the president. Others withdrew their plan to object to the certification of President-elect Biden's election win, including the outgoing Sen. Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), a close Trump ally, who said she "cannot now in good conscience object" after the riot.

Of note: Obama said he had been "heartened to see many members of Trump's party speak up forcefully" against Wednesday's violence.

What the senators are saying:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "I could not agree more with President-elect Biden's statement to the nation. Time to retake the Capitol, end the violence, & stop the madness. Time to move forward in governing our nation."

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said they were gathered "due to a selfish man's injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed" for months and "stirred to action" in "an insurrection, incited by" Trump.

  • He added those who continued to support his "dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy."

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.): "These actions are not a defense of this country, but an attack on it ... The President bears responsibility for today's events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): "It is one thing to be angry. It is another to focus one's anger in a constructive way. That hasn't happened today, to say the least. We simply cannot destroy the Constitution, our laws, and the electoral college in the process."

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division ... This is not how we peacefully transfer power."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): "The right to protest peacefully is protected under the Constitution but the actions by violent mobs against our law enforcement and property at the @USCapitol building today are not. @realdonaldtrump should condemn this unacceptable vandalism and violence."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) condemned the "dangerous destructive activity at the Capitol and called on Trump to "tell your supporters to stop the violence. Stop the assault. Now."

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT.): "The destruction and violence we saw at our Capitol today is an assault on our democracy, our Constitution and the rule of law, and must not be tolerated ... We must, and we will, have a peaceful and orderly transition of power."

What the representatives are saying:

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.): "We just had a violent mob assault the Capitol in an attempt to prevent those from carrying out our Constitutional duty. There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame."

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio): "Mr. President, this is not enough. These are not voters protesting the election. These are criminals who are destroying our nation's Capitol, threatening duly elected lawmakers and their staffs, and endangering the officers sworn to protect them."

What former Trump admin figures are saying:

Former Attorney General William Barr: "The violence at the Capitol Building is outrageous and despicable. Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it."

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: "Today's violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump. His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice."

Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper: "This afternoon’s assault on the US Capitol was appalling and un-American … The perpetrators who committed this illegal act were inspired by partisan misinformation and patently false claims about [the election]."

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci: "Do Not be an accomplice to the criminal traitor Donald Trump."

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