Following the riots at the U.S, Capitol, Wednesday, The Daily World reached out to local Republican elected officials to get their take on the events.
“2020 has been a year for the record books,” Grays Harbor County Auditor Joe MacLean said. “From people seizing government buildings in Seattle, protests at private residences, removing historical monuments and a virus that we’re all still trying to figure out.”
“(Wednesday) was overwhelming for most of the country,” Grays Harbor County Commissioner Jill Warne said. “I would never condone violence or people causing any kind of property damage or trespass. I know our country is more divided than ever right now and, unfortunately, many are blaming President Trump.”
The three Republican legislators representing the 19th Legislative District, Rep. Jim Walsh of Aberdeen, Sen. Jeff Wilson of Longview and Rep. Joel McIntire of Cathlamet, were not available. Walsh said he would be unavailable until after deadline for the story and Wilson and McIntire did not respond.
Warne’s fellow County Commissioner Kevin Pine (both were elected in November) said he was “heartbroken for the families that lost a loved one” on Wednesday and added that while he does not condone violence, he understands the frustration felt by conservatives. “I see the frustration on the right because it’s kind of hypocritical for the Democrats to say this is unimaginable, but it’s been going on all year.”
Pine mentioned the rioting and looting that has taken place in the wake of the death of George Floyd, including the occupation of a police precinct and six blocks of Seattle by left-wing protesters in the summer and over 100 straight days of rioting or protests in Portland. He said that Trump gatherings, even the one on Wednesday, have been far less destructive than what has been seen from Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests.
“(The Trump protests) are mostly peaceful protests the Capitol was in order in just a few hours and they were back in business,” he said. “The cities (where BLM/Antifa protested) are in ashes.”
Pine, whose brother attended the Trump rally on Wednesday, stated that there is evidence not being reported by mainstream news outlets that Antifa members posed as Trump supporters in an attempt to cause chaos and disruption.
“(My brother) said he never saw any violence. People were upset as to what was going on, but there was no talk of burning, rioting or looting at the Capitol,” Pine said.
Warne said that she does not believe Trump supporters were the ones acting violently on Wednesday.
“I don’t believe that those rioting and causing damage yesterday were true patriots or Trump supporters as the mainstream media depicts,” she said. “The mainstream media has been responsible for spewing hate for our president. I believe those causing damage yesterday were planted in the crowd to further incite hate and make it look like it was Trump supporters, but I don’t believe they were Trump supporters for a second.”
Local GOP officials we spoke with believe mainstream media accounts of the incident have not been accurate.
“Stories have been reported not to tell the true story but to insight fear, anger and keep the population in a state of constant turmoil,” MacLean said.
“The mainstream media is going to be very selective in what they want everyone to see,” Pine said. “And that is why nobody trusts the mainstream media anymore.”
Pine also said that while the situation “could have been handled better,” President Trump said ‘Go home. It’s time to go home,’ and shortly after the President stated he doesn’t condone violence.”
In a speech he gave before the storming of Capitol Hill, President Trump urged his followers to protest in a civil manner.
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard today,” he said.
The president also said, “And after this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down— We’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capito. And we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.
“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
Pine said not enough was done in the courts, legislative bodies and the mainstream media to address claims of an alleged fraudulent election.
“If there is potential fraud, why not investigate it?” said Pine, explaining that by dismissing the claims and not investigating them, political leaders and the courts are keeping a large portion of the American public from moving on.”Seventy-some million people demanded that something was wrong here. … At least go through the process and if it doesn’t have merit, move on.
“It’s frustrating on the conservative side of not being heard. Thousands of people coming forward with affidavits of eyewitness accounts, people are saying that’s not enough information. Truck drivers bringing a truckload of ballots across state lines. Not enough information. People bringing bags of torn up ballots, all for Trump. Not enough information. Observers being kicked out and blocking up the windows so nobody could see (the vote count). Not enough information. The subtraction of Trump votes during the election, in real time. Not enough information. How can you not look at that? It’s not that the courts didn’t say there was enough (evidence), they wouldn’t even look at it.”
The president’s campaign lost more than 50 legal actions challenging election results, both in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court.
For a country reeling from all it has had to endure over the past year, Wednesday’s protest at the capitol is just the latest wound for which it will have to heal. Warne offers some advice as to how that can be accomplished.
“We all need to pray for our country and for righteousness to prevail,” she said. “We need to get back to respecting each other, respecting private property and searching for truth amongst all the lies and deception.”