Local leaders react to ‘failed coup,’ ‘insurrection,’ ‘treasonous attack’ in D.C.

ALBANY COUNTY — Local leaders — all of them Democrats — were quick to condemn the violent breach of the United States Capitol on Wednesday, which disrupted the Congressional count of electoral votes. 

The violence was preceded by a speech from President Donald Trump rife with falsehoods about the election he lost in November to Joe Biden.

“The Albany County Legislature is in contact with the County Executive and Sheriff,” wrote Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce in a statement. “We continue to monitor the ongoing disgraceful attack on our democracy in our nation’s Capitol by domestic terrorists.

“It is our sincere hope that this insurrection is put down quickly and the people’s work of certifying the 2020 election results are completed. At which point, I call on members of Congress to begin impeachment proceedings or invoke the 25th amendment and remove President Trump from office. Our country cannot afford another 14 days with this dangerous, feckless, racist coward in office.”

Congressman Paul Tonko, who represents the Capital District, also called for Trump to be removed from office. He said in a statement, “Today, as Congress gathered to undertake one of its most solemn duties — counting electoral votes and confirming the will of the people the Presidential election — a violent and seditious mob urged on by the current President of the United States descended on the U.S. Capitol.

“As the crowd forced its way inside, the doors to our House chamber were locked and my colleagues and I were asked to hide under chairs to prevent being struck by stray bullets. When we were able to evacuate the House gallery, we did so by jumping over rows of chairs while wearing gas masks as officers barricaded the doors with guns drawn.

“This unprecedented assault by President Trump’s most loyal followers was nothing less than an attempted coup.

“Today’s violence was not isolated, it has been the culmination of years of Donald Trump fanning the flames of suspicion, conspiracy and division for his own political gain. At every turn, he has undermined our rule of law, undermined the safety and security of the American people, and even now continues to push his most frantic defenders to greater and more dangerous extremes … For the safety of our people, republic, our laws and our Constitution, Congress must adopt articles of impeachment and remove Donald Trump from office immediately.”

“One of the defining qualities of our democratic republic is a peaceful transfer of power,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy in a statement. “However, hyper-partisan, misleading and irresponsible rhetoric from the highest offices, including the White House and Congress, have fueled the shocking violence we have seen in our nation’s Capital.

“First and foremost, we should be defined for the love of our country, not our party affiliation. Each and every one of us, especially our elected leaders has the moral responsibility to not only condemn these violent acts, but to also accept the outcome of last year’s free and fair election in order to uphold our democratic principles for future generations.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan wrote on Instagram of the “treasonous attack on the country I love.” She went on, “Rather than debating and voting, our Congress Members have been forced to flee for their safety.”

David VanLuven, Bethlehem’s supervisor, posted on Facebook, “When I look out my window, I see a community of neighbors who love our town and love our country. Some are Democrats, some are Republicans …. We are a democracy. We are a nation of laws. We are better than this.”

State Senator Michelle Hinchey, who just took office, representing District 46, tweeted, “I’m thinking about the members & staff who are in the Capitol right now as well as the Capitol Police who remain unsure what each moment may bring. We are a country built on respect; on decency; and on the solid foundation of democracy. All of which, right now, are under assault.”

“The President’s actions and words today will forever live in infamy and cement his place in history as our nation’s worst President,” wrote Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy of the “chaos, violence, and insurrection.” She went on,  “Yet, the day is not lost. We thank the voters of Georgia and look to the near future with hope for a new era under President-elect Biden on January 20th.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo called the attack “a failed attempt at a coup” and said in a statement, “This is the final chapter of an incompetent, cruel, and divisive administration that has trampled on the Constitution and the rule of law at every turn, and we won’t let President Trump, the members of Congress who enable him, or the lawless mob that stormed our nation’s Capitol steal our democracy. The election results are clear and the will of the American people will be carried out.”

At 8:34 p.m. on Wednesday, Cuomo emailed that he was deploying 1,000 members of the New York National Guard to Washington, D.C. for up to two weeks “to aid and facilitate the peaceful transition of presidential power.”

A woman who was shot during the melee has died, The New York Times reported, and also wrote that, as the mob at the Capitol was dispersing at about 6 p.m., President Trump sent a tweet in which he reiterated the false claim that the election was stolen and encouraged his supporters to “remember this day” going forward.

By evening, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office had been ransacked by Trump supporters, said the count would resume.

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