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Texas Politicians Respond To Violence From Pro-Trump Extremists At The U.S. Capitol

210106 Pro-Trump supporters and police clash outside the United States Capitol Building during a March to Save America Rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC, USA. Photo: Joel Marklund
210106 Pro-Trump supporters and police clash outside the United States Capitol Building during a March to Save America Rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC, USA. Photo: Joel Marklund

Prominent Texas Republicans are criticizing the actions of a pro-Trump extremist mob at the Capitol Building in D.C.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have been at the forefront of conspiracy theories and court cases around the results of the 2020 presidential election. When pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol Building, Cruz and Paxton quickly urged them to remain peaceful.

The Texas GOP also removed its sergeant-at-arms, Walter West, over a series of Facebook posts in which he expressed support for the extremists' actions.

In a written statement, the Texas GOP said, "Whereas we vigorously support the First Amendment right to freely assemble, we condemn violence and pray for all gathering in our nation's capital and those at the Capitol Building. The Texas GOP has always been on the side of law and order and will remain so."

Most Texas GOP press statements include a quote from chairman Allen West, but this release did not. Allen West (no relation to Walter West) has been one of the most radical voices of the Republican Party in Texas.

He has fully embraced several conspiracy theories during his tenure, and has even alluded to QAnon. He has also said, without evidence, that the presidential election was stolen.

But Republicans like former congressman Will Hurd said that the storming of the capitol “should be treated like a coup led by a president that will not be peacefully removed from power.”

While Sen. Cruz and Attorney General Paxton pushed back on the results of a fair and free election, some other Texas Republicans stood by the outcome.

Congressman Chip Roy forced other Republicans into an on-the-record vote when he opposed the seating of representatives from six key battleground states. The opposition was intended to point out the irony underlying Republicans’ acceptance of the results in some races, but not of those in the presidential race.

Roy tweeted that he remained beholden to his constitutional duty, even as extremists stormed the House floor.

Texas Democrats are also calling on Republicans to take responsibility for pushing against the election results.

From NPR:

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Capitol was engulfed in chaos on Wednesday, as supporters of President Trump, responding to his call to head there, breached the complex, resulting in violence in the seat of America's federal government.

The surreal and dangerous scene interrupted proceedings in the House and Senate, as members of Congress were taking up President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

For two months, Trump has falsely claimed the election was stolen from him, and dozens of fellow Republicans planned to object to slates of electors from various states they considered contested.

Lawmakers were debating Arizona's results — a state Trump lost narrowly — when the sessions were recessed as the U.S. Capitol Police attempted to put the complex on lockdown.

But violent protesters were seen smashing windows, and occupying the House and Senate floors and various offices. Police were seen with guns drawn in the House chamber, pointing their firearms at windows that were smashed.

People inside the building were told to shelter in place, and members of Congress were told that tear gas was being used in the Capitol rotunda and that they should get ready to put on masks on.

A person suffering from a gunshot wound was transported by Washington, D.C., EMS from the Capitol, an official with knowledge of the matter tells NPR.

On Twitter, Trump asked people to remain peaceful. He then posted a video on Twitter, asking people to go home — but not before reiterating his baseless claims about the election being stolen and saying: "You're very special."

His response to the violence came just a few hours after a midday address to supporters outside the White House, in which he repeatedly denied the results of the election, claiming without evidence that it was rigged against his campaign.

"This election was stolen from you, from me, from the country," he said in the earlier remarks. He also urged his supporters to head to the Capitol, adding: "You'll never take back our country with weakness."

Vice President Pence more forcefully condemned the violence, saying that the chaos engulfing the Capitol was an "attack on our Capitol," and tweeting that people involved must "immediately leave the building" and would be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

In televised remarks, Biden called on Trump to "go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege" at the Capitol.

"Let me be very clear," Biden added, "the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not reflect who we are," he said, calling the violent protestors a "small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness."

"It borders on sedition and it must end now," Biden said. "It's not protest; it's insurrection."

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Dominic Anthony Walsh covers energy, the environment and public health for Texas Public Radio. He focuses on stories that reveal how major changes in climate systems, energy markets and public health policies affect communities in his hometown, San Antonio, and across the state.