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How Washington State Politicians Reacted to the U.S. Capitol Invasion

A harrowing day prompted plenty of response from local pols.

By Benjamin Cassidy January 7, 2021

U.S. Capitol with storm clouds

It's good to know where elected officials stand in times of crisis. Still, we could do with a few less tests of their convictions these days. Yesterday spawned yet another emergency in the U.S. as a far-right mob overtook the Capitol for hours before order was restored (but not before the violence led to several deaths). President Donald Trump had spurred the insurrection in a speech earlier Wednesday as Congress worked to formalize his election defeat to Joe Biden. Twitter and Facebook later locked Trump's social media accounts for similarly dangerous behavior.

On the other side of the country, our Washington didn't feel so distant from the events in D.C. A large group gathered outside the state's Capitol in Olympia to protest Trump's confirmed loss. Some made it onto the grounds of the governor's mansion.

Governor Jay Inslee had already tweeted his feelings about what was unfolding in the nation's capital. "The siege of the U.S. Capitol was an attack on democracy itself," he wrote. "It was fueled, precipitated and induced by the unrelenting and totally discredited lies of Donald Trump and his lackeys in Congress."

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was in the House chamber when the attack went down, sheltering in place. Later she called for Trump's removal from office following the day's events.

Congressman Adam Smith didn't mince words on CNN, calling Trump a "narcissistic psychopath." Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan and King County executive Dow Constantine released their own rebukes of the president and the violent disruption of the democratic process. Durkan's statement said this of the city's response: "Seattle will continue monitoring the situation closely. After the election, Seattle was peaceful, and we know our shared values of peace will prevail. We will not tolerate any violence or destruction to our businesses and government."

Later in the afternoon, after announcing she was safe, senator Patty Murray said she was ready to get back to work on putting the 2020 presidential election to bed. "This violent mob & the President who stoked their rage must be held accountable," she tweeted. "They should not be allowed to delay our democratic processes for a minute longer."

The Electoral College certification finished up early Thursday. Trump released a statement advocating for an "orderly transition" after months of stoking the opposite. Murray joined Jayapal in suggesting some other legislative business take place first: "The most immediate way to ensure the President is prevented from causing further harm in coming days is to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office."

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