‘It was very, very scary’: Stefanik particulars expertise throughout Capitol riots, talks resolution to proceed with objections | Authorities
Elise M. Stefanik MP, R-Schuylerville, rose to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives …
WASHINGTON – MP Elise M. Stefanik was about to speak on the floor of the house when Trump supporters besieged the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. She was ready to share her objection to the confirmation of election results in four states, as she and several Republican lawmakers had promised in the weeks leading up to Congressional certification of electoral college votes when the Capitol was overrun.
“I was actually on deck to give my speech, so I sat in the middle of the chamber,” said Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, on Thursday morning.
It was about 2:15 p.m. as she prepared to object to the Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan voting on how each state handled the presidential election.
Rep. Stefanik said she noticed something was wrong on Wednesday when House spokeswoman Nancy P. Pelosi, D-Calif. and other leaders were chased out of the chamber.
“The way it was removed was abnormal,” she said, “and then Steve Scalise, who is a minority whip, sat behind me and he was removed from the chamber so it was clear something was wrong. “
The mob was now in the building and overran the Capitol Police, but what was going on outside the doors was unknown to most of the meeting. She said the debate had lasted a few minutes before the Capitol Police returned to the chamber to lock the doors.
The scariest moment, she said, was when she was preparing to get up to speak. A colleague told her to take shelter. Hide behind the seats, she was told.
“The next announcement was that we had gas masks under our seats that I didn’t even know the gas masks were there. We should take out the gas masks and that tear gas was released in the statue hall. “She said.” You could hear very worrying noises too, they started to barricade the doors. It was very, very scary. “
Rep. Stefanik said she and her colleagues were locked in the chamber of the house until the Capitol Police escorted them through the tunnels that connect the Capitol to the surrounding legislative buildings.
She said she was holding onto Republican Lee M. Zeldin, who represents New York’s 1st Congressional District, when they returned to the Rayburn office building.
“When we got in the tunnel and got out, the shots were fired. I later learned from a Capitol police officer who heard on the radio that shots were being fired at the Capitol,” she said. “It had just been before that there were members in the Chamber of the House.”
None of Rep. Stefanik’s employees was injured. She found them all in her office.
“As I now describe in retrospect, it didn’t really calm down until around 4 pm, and it was still a very uncertain time. We should stay locked in our offices,” she said.
Congress convened after 8 p.m., and the debate on Arizona’s votes resumed in each chamber.
In her speech shortly after the house was resumed, Rep. Stefanik thanked the Capitol Police for their work in protecting the Capitol during the mob invasion.
Those who broke into the Capitol are “violent criminals” who “should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said, noting that the Capitol police saved lives.
MP Stefanik said their perspective was different from what viewers saw on television.
“We were locked in the chamber,” she said. “Some of the footage that people saw while watching TV on the network was very different from the point of view I had. From my point of view there was a lot of confusion. “
The Democratic leadership of Congress quickly accused President Donald J. Trump of instigating the violence. He held a rally near the White House and went on to claim that the elections were fraudulent and urged protesters to march to the Capitol.
“We’ll cheer on our brave senators and congressmen,” said the president. “And we probably won’t cheer some of them as much because they’ll never take our country back weakly.”
Members on both sides of the aisle have condemned the president’s actions, saying he had not done enough to prevent the mob from turning violent.
“I think the president needs to be much clearer to the American people that he condemns all forms of violence,” said Rep. Stefanik. “I also think it’s important to note that the violent perpetrators and the mob that besieged the Capitol are not representative of the vast majority of people in Washington, DC.”
Her voters took part in constitutionally protected protests, she said.
“What is not constitutional is to commit acts of violence, which we saw yesterday from the people who broke the hill,” she said.
Conspiracy theories have surfaced claiming that the people who broke into the Capitol were members of the leftist group Antifa and not supporters of Mr. Trump. Rep. Stefanik said she would not speculate on the motivations of the people who broke into the Capitol.
While it was a sad day for America, she takes pride in the resumption of Congress and doing its duty. The election was ultimately confirmed in favor of President-elect Joseph R. Biden.
When Rep. Stefanik and other GOP members of the House were back in session, they rejected the votes of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan when the House returned to debate.
“Dozens of millions of Americans are concerned that the 2020 election will include an unconstitutional overrun by unelected state officials and judges who ignore state election laws,” she said after the debate resumed. “We can and should discuss these concerns peacefully and respectfully.”
She said the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and Secretary of State had “unilaterally and unconstitutionally” amended electoral law to remove signature matching requirements. On behalf of Georgia, Rep. Stefanik said the state’s state secretary had removed the requirements for signature matching, which essentially eliminated the state-mandated verification of voters.
In Wisconsin, she said officials were circumventing state law requiring absent voters to show photo identification before receiving a ballot.
Wisconsin law requires a voter’s first postal vote request to include a copy of acceptable photo identification. However, anyone who is incarcerated for an indefinite period of time due to illness or disability does not need to present a photo ID. Instead, he can simply sign his ballot.
The Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled that each voter can independently decide whether or not to qualify as “indefinitely restricted,” and that those who have been restricted due to the pandemic can consider themselves restricted.
In Michigan, Rep. Stefanik said there are thousands of affidavits signed indicating that election officials physically prevented legal election observers from watching the vote. She said Michigan officials also illegally counted late ballots and hand-stamped ballots with prior dates to make them appear legal. The Detroit Free Press has reported that there is no evidence to support the claims.
“That’s hundreds and hundreds, I think over 1,000 people who have signed affidavits, so they should be taken very seriously,” she said.
MP Stefanik said it was important to continue the debate on the confirmation of the election results.
“One of the best ways to condemn violence is through peaceful debate or discussion like the one we had,” she said. “I stand by my decision to object.”
Rep. Stefanik said for every Republican president elected during her lifetime, a Democrat member of the House had objected to electoral college certification, which she believed set a precedent.
Democrats have protested against Republican presidential elections. In 2005, following the re-election of President George W. Bush, both a senator and a representative rejected the election in Ohio, resulting in a two-hour debate. Then 31 members of the House and one member of the Senate voted to reject the Ohio election. The measure failed and the Ohio votes were counted.
“In the case of last night, there were really only two states where Senators and House members objected, Arizona and Pennsylvania, so I voted as I had announced,” she said.
MP Stefanik said she would like a bipartisan commission to prepare best practices for states to prepare elections.
While the Democratic leadership has called for Mr. Trump to be removed from office after the siege of the Capitol, Rep. Stefanik disagrees.
Her spokeswoman said the congresswoman was “strongly against”.
“The electoral college has been certified for President-elect Joe Biden, and President Donald Trump issued a statement to ensure his commitment to a peaceful transfer of power,” the spokesman said Thursday.
Since Mr. Trump described Rep. Stefanik as an “emerging Republican star” after defending Rep. Stefanik during impeachment negotiations in November 2019, Rep. Stefanik has been a frequent guest on national media such as Fox News, accompanying the president to Camp David and his first campaign rally the 2020 election. She said she plans to continue her appearances on national television, citing the popularity of the national outlets with her constituents.
“The amount of feedback I get direct from constituents watching Fox or even local news has to get where they are, and there are a lot of viewers in my district who really enjoyed these updates,” she said .
Regardless of how Mr Trump leaves office, he will leave the company and leave his party with questions about next steps after what happened on Wednesday. MP Stefanik said she believed she always worked with her constituency in the north of the country first and will continue to do so.
“It is my great honor to ensure that the Nordland has a seat at the highest level of government in our country and whether it works with the President or with my colleagues in Congress to do things for the district,” She said, “I will continue to do that.”
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