The unprecedented assault on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday by a mob of angry Donald Trump supporters drew incredulity and condemnation of the president’s inflammatory run-up to the violence that saw one woman shot and killed, a lockdown and a police standoff with protesters in the normally august U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii said Trump saw the clash coming.
“Any reasonable person who considered the president’s words, his actions, and the effect they would have on his strongest and most loyal supporters could have predicted this possible result,” Case said in a phone interview after the melee.
“And I don’t think it was lost on the president that his words and actions could have this result,” Case said before the House and Senate reconvened. “And so, the responsibility stops at his desk and I think he bears it.”
Case said he would have wanted a president “when all of this happened to go on national TV immediately and say, ‘This is absolutely wrong. I don’t support it whatsoever.’ “
Trump tweeted after the breach started that he wanted everyone to “remain peaceful. No violence!” and to support Capitol police and law enforcement.
His twitter account, his most powerful and controversial communication tool, was later temporarily suspended.
As the rioting ensued, Sen. Mazie Hirono tweeted: “I implore the president to tell his supporters to stand down for everyone’s safety and let Congress do our job today.”
Later, she called upon Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri “and everyone who’s joined them in their stunt to try and overthrow a free and fair election” with the admonition: “It’s past time for you to stand down too.”
The pair were among those who threatened to object to the certification of electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden — a procedural delay that would not change the results.
Several thousand people had cheered Trump earlier in the day at his “Save America” rally near the White House.
Trump asked that TV cameras be turned on his supporters saying, “these people are not going to take it any longer.”
Trump blamed “big tech” and the media for a rigged election.
“Our country has had enough,” he said. “We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.”
The day before, Trump had tweeted that Republicans should “get smart” and “FIGHT!”
All four members of Hawaii’s Democratic congressional delegation expressed outrage at the storming of the Capitol building.
“The attack on the Capitol and our democracy is despicable, but it will not stop us from completing our constitutional duties and affirming the results of the presidential election,” Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement.
Schatz had tweeted earlier: “Authoritarianism will not win.”
Case had said in a tweet, “My staff and I are ok, but democracy is not. What a truly dark moment for our country, born of disrespect for our very foundations and institutions and incited by the highest levels of our leadership. But I know this is not our America, and I know we will get through this dark time together.”
Rep. Kai Kahele, the newest member of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation, had just been sworn into office on Sunday. On Wednesday he was treated to insurrection.
“Words escape me,” he tweeted. “We’ve had an incredible few days in the nation’s capital. Now this — extremists attacking &desecrating our revered Capitol. Tonight I feel her pain, but I am strengthened by her unwavering resolve. I swore an oath to uphold democracy &we will do that tonight. “
Later in the evening, he noted that, “The U.S. Capitol is secure &safe. The people’s House has reconvened. Sunday I brought the Bible, tonight I brought the Constitution. Let’s continue our work for the American people &for our democracy.”
During the breach, police were shown with guns drawn as protesters tried to break into the House Chamber. Windows and doors were smashed. Tear gas was used by both sides. A Trump supporter was standing at the Senate dais, CNN reported. Three other people died from “medical emergencies.”
“This is what you’ve gotten, guys,” Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, yelled as chaos ensued in the Senate chamber in apparent response to fellow lawmakers pushing Trump’s false claims of a stolen election, the New York Times reported.
Schatz later tweeted that U.S. Capitol security “needs a total overhaul.”
“The physical breaching and desecration of our temple of democracy must never happen again,” he said. “That they were so surprised and overwhelmed is intolerable. Those who protected us were brave and skilled, but this was plainly a failure.”
Gov. David Ige said news that protesters had stormed the U.S. Capitol was “extremely distressing.”
“It is an assault on democracy and everything this country stands for,” Ige said. “The vote certification process and peaceful transition of power must be completed as required by the United States Constitution, following a free and fair election.”
Ige said that in Hawaii, state sheriffs were working with the Honolulu Police Department “to protect the Hawaii State Capitol if necessary.”
The governor said he observed Trump supporters over the weekend at the state Capitol with flags, signs and megaphones “and they shouted their support” for the president.
“I’m proud of the fact that their supporters peacefully exercised their constitutional right to state their position, and there was no violence or no problem that we observed,” he said.
State House Speaker Scott Saiki, a Democrat, said, “Donald Trump should be charged with treason. He has been stoking this for months, if not years. So what happened today is a direct result of his actions.”
In a joint statement, Shirlene Ostrov, chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said:
“Violence, vandalism, intimidation, and mob rule have no place in our republic. We strongly denounce today’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, and call upon the protesters to stand down. We pray for a safe resolution and hope that aloha will prevail.
“The Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful protest, and also spells out how the electoral process is to be carried out. With respect to both of these, the Constitution must be upheld and respected.
“As the people and citizens of Hawaii, we are friends, neighbors, and family. Regardless of politics or party, there is more that unites us than divides us. We are one country, united under a common law. While we may have passionate debates and disagreements, violent lawlessness has no role in our political process.
“Many of us on both sides of the aisle may be feeling fear or anger today; It is so much more important than ever to remember what joins us together and show our aloha for one another.”
Ige called it a “sad day in America’s history. We need to make sure that the vote is certified and that this peaceful transition of power occurs as required by our Constitution. Our democracy and form of government depends on it.”