Most Republican and Democratic party leaders in Clallam and Jefferson counties criticized the unlawful incursion of pro-President Donald Trump protesters into the U.S. Capitol that forced a lockdown and sent lawmakers scrambling for safety.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, a 6th Congressional District Democrat, pledged a restoration of order and looked forward to Biden being sworn in as president on Jan. 20.
“Sadly, with the encouragement of the president, a violent and lawless mob attempted to take over the United States Capitol,” he said in a prepared statement.
“We do not — and will not — get bullied by angry people who are on the losing side of an election.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D- Seattle, after tweeting to constituents that she and her staff were safe, said in a tweet Wednesday: “This violent mob & the President who stoked their rage must be held accountable. They should not be allowed to delay our democratic processes for a minute longer.
“We have a Constitutional duty to certify the election. We should resume that work right now and finish tonight.”
A spokesperson for Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell said the only information he was able to reveal about her in the wake of the protest was that “Senator Cantwell and staff are safe.”
State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim, whose 24th Legislative District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties, was among those from both parties on the North Olympic Peninsula who criticized the protest in sharp terms.
“This is domestic terrorism, and it should be viewed that way, and these people should be punished that way,” he said.
Olympia law enforcement is preparing for a similar protest at the state Capitol being planned next week by “fringe groups” who aim to disrupt the start of the legislative session, he added.
Van De Wege said he expects a wide area of the state Capitol to be blocked off to the public, adding that the legislative building will be closed at noon Sunday and reopen Monday morning.
State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich condemned the U.S. Capitol takeover in no uncertain terms.
“Today’s events are unfathomable,” he said in a statement.
“I never thought I would see something like this in the greatest country in the history of the world. Violence, intimidation and disruption of the business of the People’s House is wholly unacceptable, and it flies in the face of our nation’s foundational values.”
Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Craig Durgan questioned President-elect Joe Biden’s legitimacy, calling for an investigation into alleged and unproven widespread voter fraud, while Gene Farr, the party treasurer, defended the protesters.
“Sometimes, someone has to protest what is going on, even if it means doing something that might be unlawful,” Farr said.
Durgan, saying the voting process is too prone to fraud, called for “a formal commission” to investigate the Nov. 3 general election.
He and a fellow Republican, Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach of Forks, were not on the same page.
Peach is ready to move on, hoping after Biden is sworn in, Republicans and Democrats will “talk things out” more than they have been doing.
“I’m hopeful our new president is going to take that approach,” Peach said. “I hope to see government collaborating.”
The mob scene Wednesday was “absolutely unacceptable,” Peach added.
Nate Adkisson, vice chair of the Clallam County Democrats, echoed Peach’s view.
“It’s a little bit shocking to see people storm the Capitol and actually get inside,” Adkisson said.
The 2019 Olympic Medical Center hospital commissioner candidate has participated in bond and levy elections. He said he’s seen close-up how elections work and votes are tallied, accomplished as they are at the local level.
“I can’t imagine it would even be possible to carry out such massive fraud on such a wide scale,” he said.
Newly sworn in Jefferson County Commissioner Heidi Eisenhour, a Democrat, said she was “kind of stunned” by the “travesty” of events unfolding in Washington D.C.
“Everything is peaceful here, which doesn’t surprise me,” she said Wednesday afternoon.
She noted that Biden won handily, by 7 million votes, adding that the commission called for by Durgan was unnecessary.
“I feel like the results of the election are fairly clear,” Eisenhour said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].