Pro-Trump protesters invaded the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, disrupting the congressional certification process for the 2020 election of Joe Biden as president of the United States.
The action forced the evacuation of both the House and Senate Chambers and directly resulted in the shooting death of a female protester inside the Capitol.
Windows were broken, offices invaded and both chambers were infiltrated by protesters, who were eventually cleared out by law enforcement.
Later in the evening both the House and the Senate reconvened to continue and complete the certification process.
Chaffee County’s local, state and federal representatives, including those who were among those evacuated at the U.S. Capitol, weighed in on Wednesday’s events in press releases, tweets and interviews.
“I think everyone in our county should be alarmed at the tightrope we are walking as a republic right now,” Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt said. “The events on Wednesday demonstrated the amount of anger, frustration and sense of disenfranchisement that exists right now.
“Regardless of how we feel about the results of the election process, I think we all need to take note that we’ve got a lot of work to do. A lot of different segments of our country aren’t feeling very good for different reasons.
“I was inspired by some of the speeches made yesterday, but ultimately I think the mending that needs to happen will come from the local level. We just need to take a collective breath and think about how we can get back to what’s best for everyone.”
“It was one of those ‘Where were you?” moments: while working in my study, a friend texted to say, ‘Switch on some live news now,’” Commissioner Keith Baker said. “Fortune gave me ample opportunities to visit and work in the United States Capitol, so it was instantly recognizable.
“I proudly wore a uniform for 23 years to uphold and to defend the Constitution. I have walked those halls and been in the rotunda. I never condone violence, vandalism, and looting, and seeing a mob defile our U.S. Capitol in attempts to derail our Constitutional processes was saddening and sickening.
“Credible allegations of voting irregularities should be investigated by duly trained and appointed election judges – and they were. The states certified the results and thankfully Congress quickly reconvened late Wednesday and upheld that vote. Our Constitution prevailed. It is time to move forward with duly elected President Biden and Vice President Harris.”
“Protesting is always a First Amendment right, but when violence is involved, it becomes a dagger in our side,” Commissioner Rusty Granzella said. “When violence erupts, we all bleed.”
Former District 60 State Rep. Jim Wilson said, “There’s no place for violence and destruction. There just isn’t. That’s our Capitol and it should be respected.”
Wilson said he was disappointed in comments Thursday by Gov. Jared Polis. He said Polis talked about what happened at the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday but never mentioned the damage the past summer’s “peaceful protests” did at the state Capitol in Denver.
“He never talked about the destruction in Denver, the $1 million in damage to the Capitol. That was just a peaceful disturbance.”
Wilson said he was “pretty disappointed” with both political parties, that in regard to political demonstrations the difference is which political party is behind the protest.
“We have a system in place. We claim to be a nation of laws” and those laws should be followed.
Colorado State Sen. Kerry Donovan, Democrat from Vail, said there was much to comprehend and process about the events at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
She pointed out the contrast of the day that began with a black preacher winning a seat in a southern state and ended with the Confederate flag being paraded through the nation’s Capitol.
For her, she said, “One of the searing images is people carrying with them as they ransacked our Capitol was the Trump flag. That’s the idol they were doing this for.”
Donovan said, “It is now incumbent upon us to move beyond this image of one man and back to a nation striving to be perfect.”
Doug Lamborn, Republican congressman from Colorado Springs, Fifth Congressional District, made a comment on Facebook.
“My staff and I are safe. I strongly condemn those individuals that have chosen to incite violence and have put our law enforcement in harm’s way. Today is supposed to be a day of constitutional debate, not violence. This is not who we are as Americans,” Lamborn’s post read.
Michael Bennett, Colorado’s senior senator from Denver, addressed the floor following the riots in Washington D.C. Wednesday.
He compared the United States republic to the republic of ancient Rome, drawing lines between Wednesday’s mob and “... armed gangs (who) ran through the streets of Rome, keeping elections from being started, keeping elections from ever being called.”
“And in the end, because of that, the Roman Republic fell and a dictator took its place, and that was the end of the Roman Republic, or any republic for that matter, until this beautiful Constitution was written, in the United States of America.
“So it is my fervent hope that the way that we respond to this today, my dear colleagues, is that we give the biggest bipartisan vote we can in support of our democracy, and in support of our Constitution, and in rejection for what we saw today and what the Roman Republic saw in its own time.”
“Go out there and tell them the truth, which is that every single member of this Senate knows this election wasn’t stolen, and that we, just as in the Roman republic, have the responsibility to protect the independence of the judiciary from politicians who will stop at nothing to hold onto power.”
John W. Hickenlooper, the state’s newly-elected junior senator from Denver, tweeted “My staff and I are safe and in a secure lockdown. Grateful to Capitol Police for their work to protect us. It’s a sad day for our country, but our democracy is stronger than the dangerous attack on the Capitol today.”
Former Chaffee County Republican Party chairman Dave Williams declined to comment on Wednesday’s events since he is no longer in that position.
Colorado House District 60 Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) could not be reached for comment.