WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik condemned Wednesday’s violence in the nation’s capitol, and said she does not blame President Trump for it.
“There is no excuse in this nation for any type of violence and while I strongly support the constitutional right to freedom of speech, I absolutely condemn any violent acts, and that’s what we saw in the United States Capitol today,” she told 7 News.
But, she said, President Trump did not cause what happened Wednesday, even though President Trump encouraged his followers to come to Washington for Wednesday’s congressional debate over the results of last November’s presidential election.
“This is not encouraged,” Stefanik said. “I hope the president and I know the president will forcefully condemn these violent acts today.”
Stefanik called on Trump to “speak directly to the American people.” The president issued a brief video statement on Twitter in which he reiterated the election was stolen from him, but told protestors they should go home.
Stefanik said she was on the floor of the House of Representatives preparing to speak when protestors breached the Capitol.
“This was not a normal day,” she said. “I was on the floor when they evacuated after the capitol was breached, and I was on the floor when we were asked to take out the gas masks. That has never happened before.”
Stefanik is one of more than a hundred Republicans in Congress who were prepared to object to the outcome of November’s election. Specifically, she planned to object to the vote of electors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia.
She apparently still plans to do so, after Wednesday’s events.
Former north country congressman John McHugh, who represented the area from 1993 to 2009, called Wednesday’s developments “tragic.”
“For someone like myself who was so proud to have the opportunity to serve in the House, so proud of that institution, to see it soiled in such a way is heart breaking to me,” McHugh said.
“I fear for the safety of those members of congress,” he said. “I worry for them and for their families.”