Kansas lawmakers at the state and federal level were quick to condemn the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Rioters invaded the Capitol building to try and stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes as debate was taking place in the chambers.
Thousands of President Trump’s supporters gathered to protest what they believed were fraudulent election results in several swing states. Rioters broke away from the ranks of peaceful protesters and attacked the Capitol.
Five people died in the riot, including one U.S. Capitol Police officer. The attack led to property damage, theft, assaults on law enforcement officers, and other federal crimes. Numerous rioters had been arrested as of Monday, and more arrests are expected in the coming days.
“Absolutely horrifying,” state Rep. Mark Samsel, a Wellsville Republican, said in a Jan. 6 Facebook post. “Watching today’s scenes brings tears to my eyes. It sickens me to the core. It is un-American.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, also a Republican, issued a statement Jan. 6 condemning the most destructive breach of the Capitol since the War of 1812.
“I condemn the violence and destruction at the U.S. Capitol in the strongest possible terms,” Moran said. “It is completely unacceptable and unpatriotic. This is a sad day for our nation and it is an unwelcome reminder that our democracy is fragile. God Bless the Capitol Police and our law enforcement officers. Please pray for our nation.”
The Kansas Democratic Party also issued a statement Jan. 6:
“The Kansas Democratic Party strongly condemns the violent protests seen at the United States Capitol today. This form of lawless behavior has no place in our country and does not reflect the values of the American people. The Kansas Democratic Party calls on Donald Trump, (U.S. Sen.) Roger Marshall, (U.S. Reps.) Tracey Mann, Jake LaTurner, and Ron Estes to tone down their rhetoric and stop their partisan politics by falsely sowing doubt on our electoral process. Kansans deserve better from their elected officials.”
In follow-up emails, state Sen. Caryn Tyson of Parker and state Rep. Samantha Poetter of Paola, both Republicans, condemned the violence but defended the rights of those who were there to peacefully protest.
“The vast majority of those who went to Washington D.C. remained peaceful and I’m grateful to those who are willing to peacefully take a stand for what they believe in. Those who didn’t remain peaceful, who destroyed property and caused harm to others must be held responsible for their actions,” Poetter said. “We’ve all faced many frustrations with our electoral process, media bias, and the politically correct culture trying to silence so many. It’s exhausting, deterring, and disheartening. But destruction and violence is not now, nor ever will it be the answer.”
Poetter said she has condemned acts of violence and destruction in recent months.
“I’ve stood strong in my support of law enforcement and condemned the rioting, destruction, and harm caused to others over the last seven months,” Poetter said. “I remain strong in my support of law enforcement, and condemn acts of destruction and violence regardless of political affiliation.
“My takeaway from it all going into this session is to remain strong, never stray from standing up for what’s right, and lead by example,” said the first-term lawmaker.
In her email, Tyson said, “January 6th, 2021, thousands of people in Washington D.C. and at state capitols across the nation peacefully gathered to demonstrate their disdain for the handling of the 2020 election by several states and to encourage legislatures to stand for and protect the integrity of our elections.
“I fully support the peaceful demonstrators and their efforts to protect our elections,” Tyson said. “However, their message was lost when a few outliers broke the law at our nation’s Capitol. I condemn the violence and illegal activity.”
House Democrats are threatening this week to impeach President Trump for what they say was his role in inciting the deadly riot. Democrat leadership in the House was prepared to file one article of “incitement to insurrection” to impeach the president for comments he made to protesters before they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. A vote could take place this Wednesday.
Some lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have expressed concern about the possibility of more violence in the waning days of the Trump presidency, especially directed at the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take the oath of office.
Samsel, who was critical of the president’s response to the U.S. Capitol riot, said in a follow-up email his takeaway from the events of Jan. 6 was twofold.
“One, our words and actions of elected officials matters. We must choose them carefully, then speak them with power and conviction,” Samsel said. “Second, it underscores why all elected officials must strive for personal accountability to do what is right every single time, especially the rank-and-file. We cannot be consumed with the lure of later leadership positions — we are already in leadership positions with deep obligations to the people we serve.”