Nash elected officials condemn Capitol riot | The Enterprise
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Nash elected officials condemn Capitol riot

Posted on January 11, 2021

Local news
Rep. G.K. Butterfield captured this image of National Guard troops walking past Vaclav Havel's statue in the U.S. Capitol halls Wednesday night after police regained control of the building.

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Rep. G.K. Butterfield captured this image of National Guard troops walking past Vaclav Havel's statue in the U.S. Capitol halls Wednesday night after police regained control of the building.

Quote

It is time we build bridges over these troubled waters and heal our nation from hate. I am hopeful about what we can accomplish if we choose to work together and not apart.”
State Rep. James Gailliard, D-Nash 

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

Federal and state officials on both sides of the aisle representing Nash County condemned the violent upheaval in the nation’s capital last week.

A protest rally supporting President Donald Trump’s bid to challenge election results turned violent when a mob violently occupied the Capitol on Wednesday, interrupting Congress’ electoral vote count. 

Present during the riot, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield describes it as an attempted insurrection. 

“I was nervous,” said Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat representing the 1st Congressional District, which now includes Nash County. 

Butterfield said he was locked in his office during the harrowing experience. 

“We had to lock the doors, pull out our gas masks that we keep at our fingertips and be on call to evacuate,” Butterfield said. “It was unsettling; we didn’t know what the next minutes were going to bring.”

Butterfield blames Trump.

“These protesters would not have engaged in that unlawful behavior if not for the encouragement of the president,” Butterfield said.

Recently re-elected state Rep. James Gailliard said everyone witnessed proof that American democracy is fragile during the incident, which was televised live. 

“I am deeply troubled by the insurrection that took place at our nation’s Capitol yesterday and the photos that captured this event,” Gailliard said Thursday. “Robert Kennedy Jr. stated, ‘Democracy is messy, and it’s hard. It’s never easy.’ Yesterday was hard. Yesterday was hard because we witnessed hate in action. Yesterday was hard because we saw the power of lies and conspiracies about stolen elections and fraud. Yesterday was hard because of the duplicity of response to rioting and looting. Yesterday was hard because we saw the politics of division. Yesterday was hard because the systemic injustices of our criminal justice system were televised globally for all to witness. Yesterday was hard because of the silence of almost every major North Carolina elected official in the Republican Party. Silence is complicity.”

Gailliard, a Democrat, said he wasn’t silent when Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters and others destroyed portions of North Carolina cities.

“I said then and I say again now, ‘When your protesting crosses the line of damaging people and property and breaking laws, you are now a criminal and should be treated as such,’” Gailliard said.

State Sen. Lisa Barnes, R-Nash, condemned the riot.

“Yesterday’s violence and rioting at the U.S. Capitol was unacceptable, and I strongly condemn the actions of those responsible,” Barnes said. “For 220 years, we have used debate and peaceful processes to solve our differences, and it’s been a guiding light to nations everywhere. That won’t change.”

U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr., a Trump appointee, called out the Capitol protesters as criminals.

“Yesterday, a number of individuals assaulted the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to interfere with the functioning of our Congress and to delay and disrupt the conduct of the nation’s business,” Higdon said in a Thursday statement. “Those who attacked the Capitol are not patriots, they are anarchists; and their actions were an assault on democracy and the rule of law.”

Higdon said federal authorities in the District of Columbia will investigate and prosecute those who committed crimes during the Capitol riot. 

“But, if investigations reveal that citizens of the Eastern District of North Carolina traveled to Washington from our district with the intent to commit federal crimes, we will prosecute them here in the Eastern District,” Higdon added. 

At least seven people arrested in connection with the unrest were from North Carolina. All seven of those people face a curfew violation charge.

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Nash native, has joined other officials in calling for Trump’s removal.

“This president has betrayed our country and is therefore unfit to lead it,” Cooper posted on Twitter the day after the incident.

Both U.S. senators from North Carolina denounced the storming of the Capitol building.

Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, both Republicans — who announced they would not object to the electoral count — issued a statement condemning the attempt to stop the process.

Later that night, Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

“For nearly 250 years, our nation’s commitment to the peaceful transition of power has been the shining hallmark of our democracy,” Burr said. “Today, America’s core principles were threatened by those seeking to forcibly stop our electoral process and overturn the results of a presidential election with which they disagreed.”

Burr said the action wasn’t in defense of the country but an attack on it.

“I supported President Trump’s legal right to contest the election results through the courts, but the courts have now unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected these suits,” Burr said. “No evidence of voter fraud has emerged that would warrant overturning the 2020 election. The president bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point. It is past time to accept the will of American voters and to allow our nation to move forward.”

Gailliard said he invites everyone to join in redoubling commitments to make Nash County and North Carolina places where all people, regardless of race or class, have equal opportunities to thrive.

“Join me in praying for those who lost their lives during the D.C. insurrection,” Gailliard said. “Join me in praying for the safety of Congress; every law enforcement officer; every elected official and all our citizens.”

Gailliard said the nation can choose to allow a new day to dawn from the ashes.

“It is time we build bridges over these troubled waters and heal our nation from hate,” Gailliard said. “I am hopeful about what we can accomplish if we choose to work together and not apart.”

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