Hours after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol to protest what they falsely believed was a stolen election, members of Congress resumed certifying the Electoral College vote for President.
Following requests filed by Pennsylvania Republicans Guy Reschenthaler, Mike Kelly and others to not count their own state’s electoral votes, Democrat Conor Lamb spoke on the House floor, laying the blame for Wednesday’s destructive events at the feet of his Republican colleagues.
“[The attack] was inspired by lies, the same lies you’re hearing in this room tonight, and the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves,” he said in a speech that quickly circulated online.
He reiterated that message on Thursday in an interview with WESA.
“It'd be one thing to have brought these objections and made their case before this invasion on the Capitol began, but to continue that after what we saw took place and after a woman was killed ... I do think they have a real responsibility for what happened [Wednesday] and it's going to follow them forever,” he said.
But unlike some of his Democratic colleagues, Lamb has not gone so far as to say he supports impeaching President Trump, or invoking the 25th Amendment which allows the Vice President to become Acting President if the President is not able to carry out the duties of the office. Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle said Thursday he supports either approach to removal, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said Trump should be removed through the 25th Amendment.
“We certainly have to be ready based on what we saw from the president, to deal with the threat he could pose to the nation,” told WESA on Thursday. “He….obviously seems to be [in] a declining state of mind. I'm not ready to say a specific path is the right one. But there are people preparing for many. Something that I saw firsthand ...throughout the day was there were people in this government taking things into their own hands and doing the right things. And that alone can probably get us through to Jan. 20. But we're going to be ready for anything.”
In the meantime, Lamb has a lot of questions for Capitol Police, who were overwhelmed by extremists storming the Capitol building. And he noted that the belligerent intruders were treated very differently in comparison with Black people who attended largely peaceful protesters in recent months.
“It's always hard to say what's in another person's head or their heart in a specific moment and why the Capitol Police were doing what they did [Wednesday],” Lamb said. “But, you know, I think a lot of [Republicans] were trying to make the argument that this was basically last summer's protests all over again. Everybody can just protest and it's not a problem. And that's not true. I mean, that's not how people were treated in cities across the country. This is our Capitol, it's worse. They invaded the Capitol. They broke the windows and climbed in. Some of them appeared to be armed. They had zip ties. I mean, this is worse.”
The Democrat plans to investigate why the police seemed so underprepared for the day.
“Our Capitol police force has to be able to put up more than 10 or 15 minutes worth of resistance, and they didn't do that,” Lamb said. “So we need to know why. Were they ordered not to? Did they just not have enough manpower? And then I have a lot of questions about the issue of reinforcements. You know, the Capitol Police is one relatively small police department. Where was the Washington, D.C. Police Department? Why did it take them so long to get there? Where was the rest of the federal law enforcement and where was the National Guard? And what were the orders coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that affected the timeline here? Because it took a long time for those officers to be reinforced, and that gave these people a long time to operate pretty freely in our capital and pose a threat to my colleagues, not to mention the way that they just desecrated one of our most important national symbols.”