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Senator King speaks on Senate floor, condemns violence at U.S. Capitol

Senator Angus King took to the Senate floor following the breach and protests at the United States Capitol.
Angus King speaks on the Senate floor.
Angus King speaks on the Senate floor.(WAGM)
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 8:04 PM EST
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WASHINGTON D.C (WABI) - Senator Angus King is reacting to what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Senator King said what happened in Washington D.C is a “sad” moment for our country.

He believes those involved in storming the Capitol should be held accountable for their actions.

King also taking aim at President Trump in a speech on the Senate floor.

King said, ”I don’t in any way support what happened here today, but I understand it. I understand it because I saw those people interviewed today and they said we are here because this election has been stolen. The reason they said that is because their leader has been telling them that every day for two months. we can’t afford to pull bricks out of the foundation of trust that underlies our entire system.”

Here is his full speech:

“U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate to oppose baseless efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to object to the results of the 2020 Presidential election. In his statement, Senator King emphasized the importance of trust in America’s fragile democracy, highlighted our system of self-government’s unique place in a world history defined by monarchs, despots, and dictators, and encouraged his colleagues to speak honestly with their supporters, even if the message will not be well-received. He closed his speech by quoting President Abraham Lincoln, urging his Senate colleagues to reject these unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and protect faith in our electoral system. Shortly after Senator King’s speech, the objection was rejected by a vote of 6 to 93.

“We are a 240-year anomaly in world history. We think that what we have here in this country is the way it’s always been,” said Senator King. “It is a very unusual form of government. The normal form of government throughout world history is dictators, kings, czars, pharaohs, warlords, tyrants. And we thought 20 years ago the march of history was toward democracy, but it is in retreat in Hungary and Turkey, goodness knows in Russia. Democracy, as we have practiced it, is fragile. It’s fragile, and it rests upon trust. It rests upon trust in facts. It rests upon trust in courts. In public officials, and, yes, in elections. I don’t sympathize or justify or in any way support -- that’s putting it mildly -- what happened here Wednesday, but I understand it. I understand it because I saw those people interviewed Wednesday, and they said, ‘we’re here because this election has been stolen,’ and the reason they said that is that their leader has been telling them that every day for two months.

“We cannot afford to pull bricks out from the foundation of trust that underlies our entire system. And I agree with Governor Romney that the answer to this problem is to tell people the truth. It is to tell them what happened. It’s easy to confront your opponents. It’s hard to confront your friends. It’s hard to tell your supporters something they don’t want to hear. But that’s our obligation. That’s why the word “leader” is applied to people in jobs like ours. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be something that we take on as a sacred obligation. And if people believe something that isn’t true, it’s our obligation to tell them, no, I’m sorry, it isn’t. Just as Senator Portman just said, as Mike Lee just said. I’m sorry, we can’t do this here. We don’t want to do this here. This is a power reserved to the states, not to the Congress. And I agree with the Majority Leader. I think this is one of the most important votes any of us will ever take.

“On December 1, 1862, Abraham Lincoln came to this building. He came to this building in the darkest days of the Civil War. He was trying to awaken the Congress to the crisis that we were facing. And he didn’t feel that they were fully and effectively engaged and he ended his speech that day with words that I think have an eerie relevance tonight. Here’s what Abraham Lincoln said: ‘Fellow Americans, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us.’ And here’s his final words. ‘The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.’”

As Congress Considers Objections to 2020 Election, Senator King Speaks on Senate Floor

American self-government is a 240-year anomaly in world history, which is largely defined by kings and tyrants. Our system is fragile; it rests upon trust. If we are to do our part to ensure this system survives, we cannot afford to pull bricks out from its foundation.

Posted by Senator Angus S. King, Jr. on Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Senator King condemned the violent insurrection at the Capitol and called for all of his colleagues to “speak the clear and honest facts” and no longer enable President Trump’s attempts to undermine faith in America’s elections. Earlier this week, he called efforts by Congressional leaders to spread President Trump’s dangerous disinformation “one of the most serious assaults upon our country’s democratic system in American history”.

U.S. Senator Angus King also took aim at President Trump in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday while Congress met to confirm the Electoral College votes.

“I don’t in any way support what happened here, but I understand it,” King said. “I understand it because I saw those people interviewed and they said we are here because this election has been stolen. The reason they said that is because their leader has been telling them that every day for two months. We can’t afford to pull bricks out of the foundation of trust that underlines our entire system.”

Prior to his appearance on the Senate floor, King released the following statement in response to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which was spurred by President Donald Trump’s continued attempts to undermine faith in America’s elections:

Today’s violent insurrection at the Capitol is an unspeakably sad moment for our nation – one I never thought I would...

Posted by Senator Angus S. King, Jr. on Wednesday, January 6, 2021

“My colleagues who have remained silent during the past several months, or who have actively abetted the President’s unremitting campaign to delegitimize the election, must now speak the clear and honest facts: this election was fair, as has been confirmed by the President’s hand-picked Attorney General, the nation’s top election security agency, and Secretaries of State in each of our country’s 50 states and the District of Columbia. By continuing to sow disproven seeds of doubt, they are fanning the flames of division and hatred that engulfed our body; to protect our nation’s democratic values, we must all fight to defend faith in our nation’s elections.

“President Trump cannot be verbally or silently enabled any longer by my good faith colleagues – whomever does not speak out is complicit. It is crystal clear that his current agenda is not to serve the nation in the slightest, but to serve and elevate himself. In doing so, he poisons the political debate and incites violence by continuing to repeat baseless accusations which undermine the elections that are the heart of our democratic system.

“Sadly, the tragic events of this day were entirely predictable. When people are fed a consistent and increasingly inflammatory diet of manifestly untrue statements and baseless conspiracy theories, it is no surprise that they would eventually turn to violence. The responsibility for what happened at the Capitol rests squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump.

“As the Prophet Hosea said long ago, ‘they who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind,’ and that is exactly what happened.

“The violent, anarchist criminals who defiled the Capitol Building and threatened both public officials and law enforcement officers need to be arrested, prosecuted, and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. No person should feel empowered to engage in these violent acts without facing grave consequences.

“Today is one of the darkest days our democratic system has faced. Tomorrow, and every day after, must be better, because the freedoms enshrined by our founders are not self-perpetuating; their vision, and our Constitution requires each of us to put the long-term health of our nation above short-term political interests. If we are to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people does not perish from the Earth, we need to protect it in word and deed. We must move forward together – not as warring factions, but as one nation.”

Also on Wednesday,” U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) joined Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23) to release the following statement on the violence at the U.S. Capitol Wedensday:

“The behavior we are witnessing in the U.S. Capitol is entirely un-American. This is not a peaceful protest – this is an insurrection. These individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The American people can rest assured that we will finish our work, certify the results of the 2020 election, and ensure a peaceful transition of power. Our democracy is stronger than the destructive behavior of any mob and will survive Wednesday’s egregious behavior.”

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