A host of Tennessee lawmakers condemned President Donald Trump after his supporters swarmed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to contest the results from the November election.
Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in protest of the election results, which they contend – without offering any substantiated evidence – was stolen from President Trump. At least one person was shot and killed and several others injured during the mayhem that also resulted in the evacuation of Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress. Among the evacuated lawmakers was Tennessee Congressmen Steve Cohen (TN-09
“We are locked in the chamber as the hooligans have entered the Capitol,” Congressmen Cohen tweeted shortly after he and other lawmakers were evacuated and moved to an undisclosed location. “Trump swore to protect the country from enemies both foreign and domestic. He is not only defending us against domestic enemies. He is the domestic enemy.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden won the election capturing 306 Electoral College votes to 232 for Trump. However, President Trump has unsuccessfully tried to have the results overturned, claiming that the election was stolen. Although he lost both the popular and electoral college votes, the President has encouraged his supporters to challenge and protest the results.
Several local lawmakers said Wednesday’s violent protests were a result of the President’s actions.
“The violence that’s going on in DC is unacceptable and a direct consequence of the violence and disorder President Trump has caused,” State Representative London Lamar (D-Memphis) said in a written statement to The New Tri-State Defender. “Our nation and citizens deserve to participate in a fair election process that doesn’t result in a violent coup. President Trump and his supporters should be held liable.”
State Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) echoed similar sentiments as Rep. Lamar.
“As a legislator, a former U.S. Marine, and an American, I am embarrassed, concerned and extremely disappointed in the acts and the incitement of rioting by Donald Trump,” Rep. Parkinson said. “To put the lives of members of Congress, their staffs and others at risk is detestable. This is not patriotic and completely unAmerican and its cowardice. The act of a sitting POTUS puts our country in a position of vulnerability with our enemies. Our security as a nation is a risk. This is an attempted coup.”
Parkinson also called on all Tennessee lawmakers to “denounce the actions of Donald Trump publicly.”
Chairman Scott Golden of the Tennessee Republican Party issued an official statement regarding the violent protests.
“It’s an extremely emotional day for all of us that poured our heart into President Trump’s campaign. We have the right to be heard, but not to the point of violence and destruction. The Republican Party is the party that supports law enforcement, rights, and the rule of law, and not defunding the police. Today’s perpetrators will be brought to justice and the truth will come to light. For now, let’s act responsibly, pray for our country and our leaders, and get ready to Make America Great Again.
Other Republicans, including Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, lent their voices to the call to protect the freedoms Americans have long enjoyed
“The violence happening in our Nation’s Capitol is inexcusable and an affront to our founding principles and freedoms. I snd with our Tennessee delegation that order must be restored immediately and thank law enforcement for their professionalism,” Governor Lee tweeted.
Republican lawmaker Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) tweeted that the protesters were engaged in unlawful actions.
“To the protesters that have breached the Capitol building: you are disrupting the democratic process. You should be ashamed of yourself. This is violence. This is a crime. It must stop.”
State Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) criticized Blackburn along with Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) for joining Trump in refusing to accept President-elect Biden’s win.
“This is insane. All the elected officials have encouraged this – (Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn) – are responsible. You all are responsible for the violence, terrorism, and the crisis that our country is in right now. Blood is on your hands. This is supposed to be America,” Sen. Akbari tweeted.
After praising the protesters earlier Wednesday for gathering at the Capitol, Hagerty has since condemned the violence that ensued.