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Friday, January 22, 2021

Local leaders react to unrest in Olympia following siege of U.S. Capitol building

Washington state Democrats join growing chorus to remove Trump from office, Gov. Inslee deploys troops to Olympia

A photograph showing the front of the Washington State Governor's Mansion. This photo is courtesy of the Washington Governor's Mansion Foundation.
A photograph showing the front of the Washington State Governor’s Mansion. Pro-Trump protesters surrounded the governor’s mansion just hours after the U.S. Capitol was overrun on Wednesday, Jan. 6. // Photo courtesy of the Washington Governor’s Mansion Foundation.

By Nolan Baker

After chaos and violence erupted from the nation’s capital and reverberated to statehouses across the country, Whatcom County’s representatives in Congress are joining a growing chorus calling on the removal of President Donald Trump from office. 

A mob of pro-Trump rioters descended upon the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Jan. 6 in an attempt to disrupt the presidential election certification in Congress. 

Later that afternoon, the grounds of the governor’s mansion in Olympia were overrun by another mob of Trump supporters, forcing the governor into lockdown. 

Governor

In response to the security breach and ongoing protests in the state capital, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday, Jan. 8, a deployment of 750 Washington National Guard troops to assist state troopers and local law enforcement with security.

In a statement released Jan. 8, Gov. Inslee said, “We sincerely hope for peaceful actions but if that does not happen, we will be prepared.”

In a video posted to YouTube just hours after protesters swarmed the governor’s home, Gov. Inslee described the violent descent onto the halls of Congress as “acts of sedition,” and called on his Republican colleagues to condemn the violence and intimidation as well.

“I especially encourage the Republican Party to do some soul searching,” Inslee said. “It’s time to stop pandering to falsehoods.” 

U.S. Senators

Earlier Wednesday, both Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray were forced into lockdown after the pro-Trump mob broke in attempting to stop both the counting and certification of the electoral votes. 

Both senators have explicitly supported voting to impeach the president, and support his removal by way of the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and members of the president’s Cabinet to relieve the president of his powers and duties.

Murray, the third-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, has called not only for the removal of President Donald Trump from office but also for the resignations of Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz who, “like the president, incited and supported the violent mob that attacked the capital,” Murray said in a statement released Friday, Jan. 8. 

The two Republican senators have made repeated efforts to contest the results of the presidential election and made plans to object to the vote tallies from Arizona and Pennsylvania leading up to the Jan. 6 congressional certification. 

“Any Senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office,” Murray said. “Senators Hawley and Cruz should resign.”

Junior Sen. Maria Cantwell was in lockstep with Murray, releasing a statement in support of both impeachment proceedings and enacting the 25th Amendment. 

Five people have died as a result of the chaos Wednesday, Jan. 6, including Brian D. Sicknick, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who, according to a statement from the police, died Thursday, Jan. 7 after succumbing to injuries sustained while “physically engaging with protesters.” 

U.S. Representatives

Across the street from the Capitol, in the Rayburn House Office Building, Whatcom County’s House Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene were forced into lockdown until the rioters were cleared by federal forces. 

On Friday, Jan. 8, Larsen announced on Twitter he was co-sponsoring articles of impeachment with fellow Democrats David Cicilline, Ted Lieu and Jamie Raskin. The congressman also expressed his support for removing the president from office. 

“I am prepared to vote again for articles of impeachment,” Larsen tweeted Thursday, Jan. 7. “However, after yesterday’s horrific events at the Capitol, President Trump must be removed from office immediately.”

Washington State Representatives

The Washington House of Representatives will convene in Olympia Monday, Jan. 11 under the guard of hundreds of Washington National Guard troops and state police, according to Inslee’s statement released Friday. 

Newly elected representative for Washington’s 42nd legislative district Sharon Shewmake, was horrified by what she witnessed in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, Jan. 6. 

“Honest, transparent and fair elections are the backbone of our democracy and the peace of our nation,” Shemake said in an e-newsletter posted to her website Friday, Jan. 8. “These values were disrespected by agitators because their preferred candidate lost.”

Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen, who represents Washington’s 42nd legislative district and championed for Trump in a 2018 op-ed for the Seattle Times, has yet to make a public comment on the insurrectionists.

Luanne Van Werven, the Republican representative for the 42nd district who lost her seat to incoming Democrat Alicia Rule, has not made a public comment on the violence. 

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