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Rep. Mike Doyle Describes Capitol Scene As 'Chaos'

Jose Luis Magana
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

On today's program: Rep. Mike Doyle describes the scene as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the grounds of the United States Capitol during a Congressional joint session to certify the November election results; Marc Levy of the Associated Press breaks down attempted actions from Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Legislature to overturn certified election results on Tuesday. 


Doyle determined to get things done despite mob at the Capitol

(0:00 - 11:35) 

After supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol grounds, following a rally he held hours before a joint Congressional session to certify the November 3 election results, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle was left both angry and sad witnessing the violence that occured Wednesday afternoon. 

“I’ve been a member of Congress for 26 years. I’ve been through four presidents. I’ve been in the majority and the minority. I never envisioned a day where I would see an insurrection that was basically egged on by the president of the United States.”

Doyle says the president’s rhetoric leading up to Wednesday’s actions inspired the protestors to take violent action.  Capitol Police were overwhelmed as crowds grew increasingly larger and more violent, breaking windows and drawing firearms to eventually storm both the House and Senate floors. Doyle says lawmakers were told to hide under their seats and brace for coverage. 

“That’s not America, that’s what happens in a banana republic,” Doyle says. 

Doyle says the president’s behavior since losing the November election has been “undemocratic, unpatriotic, and dangerous” to the country’s worldview. 

“He (Trump) has enablers here in the House and I think the Republican Party has some soul searching to do to see what that party is going to look like in the future, because if it continues to be the party of Trump it’s going to start to shrink,” Doyle says. 

As Inauguration Day looms less than two weeks away on January 20, Doyle does not believe similar violence will insinuate given the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. But regardless of Wednesday’s events, Doyle believes neither party should be proud. 

“We’re a nation of laws and we have a process for this. When someone thinks something needs to be reviewed or addressed, there’s a procedure for it,” Doyle says in response to those who are still upset by the results of the November election. “At some point they need to accept what the facts are and then move on from that.”

Doyle is optimistic for the future despite Wednesday’s events. He plans to work alongside his colleagues in Congress, but says in the meantime, both sides must come together to help those struggling most through the pandemic. 

“We’re going to have disagreements, they have different philosophies than we do on some things, that's fine and that's how it’s supposed to be, but it can’t be done the way it’s been done under this administration,” Doyle says.

Congress certified Joe Biden’s victory early this morning.

Republican state senators defy Sen. Jim Brewster’s swearing in
(11:55 - 18:00) 

Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Senate blocked the swearing in of Sen. Jim Brewster on Tuesday despite the election’s certification by state officials, resulting in a heated back and forth between Republican lawmakers and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.  

Marc Levy, an Associated Press reporter covering the Pennsylvania State Legislature in Harrisburg, says he has not seen this sort of outward objection during a swearing in ceremony, which is usually celebratory and ceremonious.  

Republican senators were able to remove Fetterman from presiding over the Senate floor, something Levy says Republicans have been talking about doing since June.  Levy says Republicans have felt that Fetterman’s failure to recognize their motions or points of order were a violation of the Constitution, resulting in Tuesday’s spectacle. 

“You could predict that this was coming,” Levy says. 

Levy says the issue lies within the hands of the court as Brewster’s Republican opponent, Nicole Ziccarelli, awaits the verdict of an “election contest” lawsuit her team filed. The suit calls for the reassessment of mail-in ballots in Allegheny County that she believes should not have been counted. 

While the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court decided to certify those ballots, Republicans believe they are well within their right to take a second look at the process. 

“It’s hard to tell whether this will be a long process or a short process, but they haven’t given us any hint as to what’s to come,” Levy says. “There’s no guarantee that they will at all put Jim Brewster in that seat, they could very well vote to put Nicole Ziccarelli in that seat.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.


Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Isabelle is a student at George Washington University studying Political Communication. She loves all things Pittsburgh sports and serves as a sports anchor for GW-TV. In her free time, she enjoys museum hopping and walking her dog, Stevie.
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