Pennsylvania's representatives in Congress and other political figures have issued statements reacting to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by angry supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
As members of Congress convened to confirm the Electoral College results declaring president-elect Joe Biden the victor, supporters of the president breached the Capitol building, marching through hallways while shouting and waving Trump, American and Confederate flags, forcing a halt to the proceedings as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were evacuated.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who moments before the proceedings ended spoke in opposition to those objecting to Arizona's electors, issued the following statement:
“This is an absolute disgrace. I appreciate the work of the United States Capitol Police under difficult circumstances. I am currently safe as are the few members of my staff that are currently at the Capitol complex.”
Rep. Scott Perry tweeted:
Speaker of the Pennsylvania House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Center/Mifflin) issued the following statement:
“Any act of violence or destruction is a crime and should be treated as such.
“Peaceful transitions of power are something our country has responsibly proceeded with since our founding and should serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world.
“An objection to the electoral process is within the rights of members of Congress and has been exercised by members from both sides of the aisle at different times in our nation’s history.
“However, that process leads to debate and dialogue, not violence and mayhem.
“We strongly condemn any act of violence and destruction and pray for all those impacted today.”
Rep. Lloyd Smucker:
U.S. Rep. John Joyce:
“O:ur nation was founded on the resolute principles of freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration. Violent protest is always unacceptable. Like so many Americans, I am deeply saddened by the unlawful attacks on the U.S. Capitol, the People’s House. God bless the brave U.S. Capitol Police and law enforcement.”
Republican Congressman Fred Keller:
“The violence happening at the U.S. Capitol is shameful, completely unacceptable, and un-American. This is not how our Republic should operate and the rioters must be fully prosecuted. My staff and I are safe and sheltered in place at a secure location. God bless our Capitol police and first responders.”
The Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus statement:
“For numerous weeks, leaders have failed to speak in a unified bipartisan voice that America respects the rule of law, the peaceful transition of power and the will of the voters to decide our elections. From our state Capitol to our nation’s Capitol people have been cavalier with our democracy and now we have violence in an attempt to overturn our elections through force.
“We are calling on our Republican colleagues, starting with Speaker Bryan Cutler and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, to immediately and unequivocally denounce this violence and support the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power. It’s time for all of us to do our part to lead. It’s time for all of us to stand together and urge peace and respect. We demand Republicans will do the right thing and join us today and in days to come to restore the people’s faith in their democracy.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also weighed in.
President-elect Joe Biden:
In response to the storming of the United States Capitol by protestors, local Republicans, Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion), House State Government Chairman Seth Grove (R-Dover) and Reps. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover), Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) Mike Jones (R-York Township), Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland) and Keith Gillespie (R-Hellam); and Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), Dave Arnold (R-Lebanon/Dauphin/York) and Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland) issued the following statement:
“The storming of the U.S. Capitol by protesters has absolutely turned our stomachs and just as we condemned the multiple violent protests over the summer, these actions cannot be tolerated. It cannot be tolerated and those involved must be swiftly brought to justice.
“Naturally, we don’t always agree when it comes to politics, and that is the case now more than ever. However, that is absolutely no reason for the disgusting events in Washington, D.C., to occur. As Americans, we pride ourselves on civility. On the ability for two sides to come together and discuss matters in a meaningful and respectful fashion. This display is neither of those things. Rather, it is a mob raiding a United States government building that houses our elected members of Congress. It must be stopped, and cooler heads must prevail for the sake of our nation and our future.”
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats:
"The First Amendment is one of our most sacred. It is not political and it is not partisan. The rights to free speech, assembly and petition are what allow this country to flourish. However, those rights do not permit the violence we are seeing today in the nation’s Capitol building and in state capitols across this country.
We held an election in November, and now – like every four years – we must have a peaceful transition of power. Our form of government cannot survive without it.
Without qualification or equivocation, we condemn the actions at the US Capitol Building today. We are asking protestors to stand down and leave peacefully."
State Treasurer Joe Torsella:
“As an elected official, and American citizen, I am calling—as every elected official should—for an immediate and complete end to the violent insurrection currently underway at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and to the reprehensible incitement of it by President Trump.
“Included in the personnel locked down in the Capitol, we have elected officials—and their respective staffs—that have been sent there by Pennsylvanians through peaceful and fair elections. They are there to do the People’s business, to serve their constituents—our friends, neighbors, and families – and today, to discharge their Constitutional duty.
“These public servants are currently under siege by those who have abandoned peaceful protest and have turned to violence to subvert democracy, incite fear and threaten the safety of those they disagree with.
“These people need to immediately leave the United States Capitol. The President of the United States needs to demand that they do so and say clearly at long last to his supporters that no election was “fraudulent” or “stolen.” The only attempt to subvert an election is the shameful events we are seeing today, and have seen for past weeks. As the person most responsible for inciting this violence, he needs to end it, and should bear the consequences of his actions.
“When building the National Constitution Center and filling its halls, I never thought I would witness a moment like today, an attack not just on our institutions, but on the idea of our democracy itself. Our future is supposed to be better than the darkest days of our past, and it will be again. This should never have happened. All American leaders at all levels of government should do everything they can to put a stop to it, resolve that we will never allow it to happen again, and reclaim our identity as a constitutional democracy that is better than this disgraceful scene.”
Congressman Dan Meuser: