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Colorado congressmembers, political science professor, react to U.S. Capitol attack

"The police had their guns out and were prepared to defend us on the floor"
Colorado congressmembers, political science professor, react to attack on U.S. Capitol
Posted at 1:39 AM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 13:21:43-05

SOUTHERN COLORADO — Rioters in support of President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, bringing a joint session to certify the Electoral College results of the presidential election to a halt. Legislators reconvened later in the day, but before they did, many Colorado politicians released statements, condemning the violence.

Congressman Ken Buck, in conjunction with Governor Jared Polis, released the following bi-partisan statement:

“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.”
Joint Statement from Gov. Jared Polis and Congressman Ken Buck

Buck also tweeted several times during the day, sending out pictures from the chamber and calling the riot "anarchy."

Another statement was sent out from Buck's team as well:

"What has happened at the U.S. Capitol today is disgusting and anti-American. The American people have the right to protest peacefully, but this is not peaceful and it's not a protest. I condemn this in the strongest terms and urge everyone to stop this madness immediately. I want to thank the U.S. Capitol Police for their service and work in keeping members and staff safe."
Congressman Ken Buck

Meanwhile, News5 spoke with Professor Josh Dunn who teaches political science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. While he said he anticipated a protest on Wednesday, he did not expect it to reach the level it did. "They should all be arrested and charged with insurrection, treason, whatever you want to call it. I mean, you're attacking the seat of the United States government. The primary law making institution in the United States, and in the world," said Dunn.

Dunn read through one of President Trump's tweets regarding the violence at the Capitol, where he once again falsely claimed he won the election in a landslide, and that the results were "stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long." The president also instructed the rioters to go home with "love and peace." Dunn said this tweet would hardly count as fulfilling the president’s duties under the Take Care Clause in Article II of the United States Constitution. As soon as rioters pushed past the first barrier erected by the Capitol Police, Dunn said the president had a duty to condemn their actions and not give any sense that it was justified or excusable. "Reasonable and minimal expectation that when protesters storm the Capitol building, attack Capitol Police, that the president of the United States should condemn that, in no uncertain terms, leaving nothing to the imagination about whether it's right or wrong," said Dunn.

Dunn explained how typically, research has looked into left-wing protests that have turned violent. "We know from empirical research that violent protests tend to undermine support for the protesters... I think you're also going to see a severe erosion of whatever support remained for President Trump," said Dunn.

He said the burden will fall on the incoming administration to start healing some of these wounds. Dunn said the people who went to the U.S. Capitol were given a false hope by the president, that the election results somehow could be changed. "All of this was thrown into confusion because President Trump said things that I don't think anyone had ever conceived of before, which is that the vice president actually has some authority to negate an election with which the vice president disagrees, or thinks was somehow fraudulent," said Dunn.

When asked how we got to this point, Dunn discussed the trust in our election process. "If people don't trust the process, through which consent is supposed to be granted, then the whole system is at risk of unraveling. And so, I think that's the key to all this. If a substantial minority or a majority of Americans distrust the system, then it's not just distrusting elections, it's distrusting the entire constitutional order that we have," said Dunn.

"Not to diminish what happened today, but in the 60's and 70's we had assassinations (MLK and Robert Kennedy), far more destructive riots, massive domestic terrorism (the Symbianese Liberation Army, The Weathermen etc.), and the most serious constitutional crisis of the 20th Century (Watergate). In short, we should be worried, but we also have a history of overcoming deep division that should give us hope."
Professor Josh Dunn

In an interview with CNN, Congressman Jason Crow described the experience he had while being trapped in the House Chamber. "It's surreal, and to be honest with you, I'm still processing that experience and coming to terms with it. But we have some very serious questions that we need to answer," said Crow.

Rep. Crow discussed how he was up in the gallery watching the debate when it all unfolded. "The police had their guns out, and were prepared to defend us on the floor. We were told to lay down," explained Crow.

In a later tweet, Congressman Crow called the attack on the U.S. Capitol an "attempted coup."

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is one of the legislators who stated she would object to the Electoral Collage certification. As of late on Wednesday night, this tweet was still pinned to the top of her profile:

Boebert was in the news earlier this week for claiming she will carry her gun in Congress. However, when News5 tried to reach out to her team, there was no response.

On the morning of the riot, Boebert tweeted out "Today is 1776."

Boebert's most recent tweet does call the violence from Wednesday inexcusable, and one from earlier in the day stated she and her team were safe.