State and local leaders reacted with scorn and disgust Thursday on the heels of violent protests and attempted insurrection by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday that left four dead.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called for President Donald Trump to be immediately removed from office Thursday, calling on Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet members or Congress to invoke the 25th Amendment after inciting a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol in objection to Congress voting to cement President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.
Schumer is slated to become the next Senate majority leader after Democrats won control of the chamber in two Georgia runoff elections Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19
“Yesterday, a core tenet of our democracy – the peaceful transition of power – came under siege. And in appalling fashion, the siege occurred in the People’s House. Just hours earlier, President Trump gave a speech to his supporters in front of the White House, where he not only spewed baseless claims of election fraud, but also proclaimed to those listening, ‘You’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.’
“Even more brazenly, after the mob breached the doors of the Capitol, in a complete dereliction of his duty to protect the American people and defend our democracy, the president continued to spew lies about the election being stolen, called the insurrectionists ‘great patriots,’ and went so far as to say that ‘these are things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away.’
“The president’s actions and words during a moment of great peril for our democracy make it plain that he is unfit for the Office of the President. I took an oath to protect our democracy against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And with a heavy heart, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to protect our democracy, President Trump must be removed from office by his own cabinet or this Congress.”
Former U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19
“What happened yesterday was a national disgrace. Unfortunately, the president fomented that mob and invited that mob to go to the Capitol. As Sen. [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell said, it was an insurrection against the government and against the United States and our Constitution. [Trump’s] always been unconventional, but his actions in the last 60 days since the election have veered dangerously over the line and culminating with the despicable actions of yesterday. I think if the man had any shred of decency or character left, he would do us all a favor and resign his office now.
“This really plays into the hands of our adversaries across the world. Don’t for a moment think the Russians or the totalitarian rulers of China are not going to make the most out of this to disparage a Democratic system and promote their alternatives. So that’s what also is particularly upsetting about the actions of the president. He’s not only undermined our democracy here at home, but he’s undermined the standing of America throughout the world.”
State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda
“As public officials, we are elected to solve problems. We are at a critical moment in our state and nation, and it’s more important than ever for leaders at every level to help heal the division sowed by political extremes on both sides and focus on addressing the critical issues facing the American people, including public health and economic recovery.”
Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106
“This is a sad day for the United States. The violence we saw in Washington, D.C. was not only an attack on the U.S. Capitol buildings, but an assault on the democratic process and the rule of law we hold so dear. This violence is wholly unacceptable and an affront to the very notion of patriotism. It is past time for this President to acknowledge the fact that he lost the election and ensure the peaceful transfer of power to his legally elected successor. I hope that justice is served and that all perpetrators of today’s attack are prosecuted. This shameless mob violence has no place in our country.”
Assemblyman Jake Ashby, R-107
“The violence and rioting at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable. We as a nation must be working toward unity and not sow further division.”
Assemblyman Ashby was one of dozens of officials to sign a letter with a bipartisan coalition of Columbia County officials denouncing the violence.
Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson
“Yesterday we saw our republic in great danger. This type of attack is allowed when there is a lack of leadership. As a collective our nation’s leaders need to ask themselves what is needed to get our society on track for everyone.”
Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore
“The Constitution allows for peaceful assembly. It’s a right that millions of people around the world do not enjoy. Riots like we’ve seen in our cities all year, now in our Capitol, are the result of lawless leadership.”
Resident Ron Morales of Hillsdale
“I think it’s a travesty. I think it’s one of the saddest moments in the history of the United States and I think that hopefully that there will be some justice to come out of this and people will be arrested, including El Presidente.”
Resident Rudy Huston, of Hudson
“I would just say it was shocking to see my fellow, my quote unquote fellow Americans behaving that way. I just never thought I’d see it. I sensed maybe something was coming like that but it was really hard to see and I got locked on the monitor last night for a long time staring at it, like really? Anyway, there’s not much more to say. This guy is out of office soon and I think everybody recognizes now — I gave everybody the benefit of the doubt after the first election — he’s gotta go. It’s not what our country is. It’s time to move on, that’s all. It’s time to move on. A new guy’s elected and we need him in office.”
Keith Kanaga, chairman of the Columbia County Democratic Committee
“I’m appalled and heartbroken. It never should have happened, and this has got to stop.”
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell, R-Stockport
“I don’t condone any type of violence of that matter. I thought it was appalling that that occurred. Part of what makes our democracy special is an orderly transition of power and this was an affront to our democracy.”
Austerlitz Supervisor Robert Lagonia (R)
“I think it was horrific. They were completely out of line, inappropriate, unacceptable and we should never have that go on in this country.”
Ghent Supervisor Mike Benvenuto (R)
“The Constitution is supportive of peaceful protest; violence and anarchy should not be tolerated from any segment of our society. The actions of those who wreaked havoc at the Capitol building on Jan. 6, and ignored law and order, must be condemned for it. The actions of protestors yesterday did nothing to support their cause, only to sully it. This country has long existed on democracy and peaceful transition of power, that must remain sacred if we are to be considered a beacon of democracy for the world.”
Copake supervisor Jeanne Mettler (D)
“This was a horrifying event. It was not a protest, it was a mob breaking into the Capitol, one of this nation’s most sacred spaces. We are stewards of this 200-year-old experiment we call democracy. Its survival is not guaranteed. It is our solemn obligation to protect our democratic institution so that we can pass on a more perfect union to those who come next. I took for granted that our norms and institutions could stand up to whatever came, but that is not necessarily so. On the contrary, each of us as Americans must be on guard to protect what we have inherited. If nothing else, what happened yesterday was a loud wake-up call that we must not let what we treasure slip away.”
Ancram supervisor Arthur Bassin (D)
“It was outrageous and it was really, I think, was totally out of control. It’s hard to express my concern any better than it’s already been expressed by lots and lots of people in the media.”
New Lebanon Supervisor Tistrya Holughtling (D)
“I think it’s disgusting and deplorable what happened. I think it is not representative of what our country is. I think we are entitled to have different beliefs, we are entitled to protest, but we are not entitled to break into the Capitol with guns. I am very disappointed in our current president for inciting that behavior. I think many of the elected officials in Washington acknowledged that he was responsible for flaming those fires. He had the gathering prior, and basically encouraged people to go down to the Capitol and try to somehow change a valid and recognized election. There’s a system in place, which he went through, and he went through the courts, which is the place to go, and all the courts — even the ones with Trump-appointed judges — this was not a left, right issue. They all found no viable claims, no proof that could be presented.”
A statement about Wednesday’s events in Washington was signed by 37 local elected officials:
“We strongly condemn the violent actions of those who invaded the U.S. Capitol buildings yesterday. This shameful activity is not to be condoned. Lawlessness and rioting are never acceptable, in any fashion, no matter the reason. Our democracy rests on the orderly and peaceful transition of power, and this transition from one president to another must be allowed and supported. While we each have our political views and affiliations, we stand united in upholding the rule of law, and the Constitution of the United States. We ask you to do the same; our democracy depends upon it.”
Officials who signed the statement: Canaan Town Supervisor Brenda Adams; Assemblyman Jake Ashby, R-107; Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106; Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett; Ancram Town Supervisor Arthur Bassin; Columbia County Board of Supervisor Majority Leader and Ghent Town Supervisor Michael Benvenuto; Germantown Town Supervisor Robert W. Beaury; Ancram Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Hugh Clark; Ancram Town Clerk Monica Cleveland; Chatham Town Supervisor Donal Collins; Columbia County Republican Committee Chair Greg Fingar; Columbia County Democratic Committee Second Vice Chair Brenda Gevertz; Town of New Lebanon Councilwoman Deborah Gordon; Columbia County Board of Supervisors Deputy Chairman and Town of Livingston Supervisor James Guzzi; Columbia County Board of Supervisors Minority Leader and Town of New Lebanon Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling; Town of Ancram Councilwoman Bonnie Hundt; Columbia County Democratic Committee Chairman Keith Kanaga; Columbia County Treasurer P.J. Keeler Jr.; Town of Hillsdale Supervisor Chris Kersten; Board of Supervisors Deputy Chairman and Town of Stuyvesant Supervisor Ron Knott; Town of Austerlitz Supervisor Robert Lagonia; Town of Kinderhook Supervisor Patsy Leader; Town of Copake Supervisor Jeanne E. Mettler; City of Hudson 2nd Ward Supervisor Abdus Miah; Town of Ancram Highway Superintendent James Miller; Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman and Town of Stockport Supervisor Matt Murell; City of Hudson 4th Ward Supervisor Linda Mussmann; Town of New Lebanon Councilman Norman Rasmussen; Town of Gallatin Supervisor John C. Rilly; Town of New Lebanon Town Clerk Marcie Robertson; City of Hudson 5th Ward Supervisor Richard Scalera; City of Hudson 1st Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling; Town of Taghkanic Supervisor Ryan Skoda; 102nd Assembly District Assemblyman Chris Tague; Columbia County Clerk Holly Tanner; Town of New Lebanon Councilman John Trainor; Town of Claverack Supervisor Clifford “Kippy” Weigelt.
Hudson Common Council President Thomas DePietro declined to comment.