Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says President Donald Trump “bears a great deal of the blame” after a mob loyal to him stormed the U.S. Capitol.
As the Senate reconvened to count electoral votes that will confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s win, Schumer said that Jan. 6, 2021, will “live forever in infamy” and will be a stain on the democracy, invoking the famous words spoken by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Schumer said the events “did not happen spontaneously.”
He said Wednesday: “The president, who promoted conspiracy theories that motivated these thugs, the president, who exhorted them to come to our nation’s capital, egged them on.”
Trump has falsely claimed that there was widespread fraud in the election to explain away his defeat.
Schumer says the protesters should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led off with remarks, vowing that business would go on.
“We’ve fulfilled this solemn duty every four years for more than two centuries,” McConnell said of the “clockwork of democracy.”
“The United States Congress has faced down much greater threats than we’ve faced today. We’ve never been deterred before and will not be deterred today. They tried to disrupt democracy. They failed. The free choice of the American people is precisely what shapes our democracy,” the Senator said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress’ certification of the President-elect’s election win will show the world it won’t back down.
Pelosi says, “Despite the shameful actions of today, we will still do so, we will be part of a history that shows the world what America is made of.”
Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, noted that Wednesday is the feast of the Epiphany and prayed that the violence would be “an epiphany to heal” for the country.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy compared the violence to protests against racial injustice over the summer after the killing of George Floyd by police.
McCarthy said, “Mobs don’t rule America. Laws rule America. It was true when our cities were burning this summer and it is true now.”
The comment got loud applause from Republicans. Democrats in the chamber sat silently.
Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, was killed in May after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he said he couldn’t breathe.
McCarthy, an ally of Trump’s, said Wednesday was the “saddest day” he’s ever had in Congress.
He said: “It is clear this Congress will not be the same after today.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.