Romney, Burr, and Even James Mattis Point the Finger of Blame Squarely at Trump for Capitol Riots: ‘What Happened Here Today Was An Insurrection’

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol was an unacceptable act of violence and insurrection, several key Republicans said, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), and Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT), and they pointed the finger of blame squarely at President Donald Trump for inciting the unrest. Even former Secretary of Defense James Mattis blamed the president.

Mattis, who joined with the nine other living former Defense Secretaries in a scathing Washington Post op-ed a few days ago denouncing the suggestion from Trump allies to involve the military in overturning the election, had an even sharper tongue in a statement he released today, taking aim directly at both Trump and his Republican supporters in Congress.

“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” said Mattis. “His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”

Romney was described by several reporters as “furious” in reaction to the Capitol being breached, and issued a statement expressly blaming Trump and his fellow Republicans who were objecting to the Electoral College vote, which he posted on his official Senate website and linked on Twitter.

“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States,” wrote Romney, citing “a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning” as the cause.

“Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” he continued. “They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”

Romney scoffed at the objectors’ claims they were acting on the voters’ behalf, observing that no Congressional audit would overcome Trump’s continued claims that the election was stolen.

“The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,” Romney wrote. “That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost.”

Romney urged his fellow Senators to “not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty,” and “continue with the count of electoral college votes.”

“In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom?”

Burr struck a similar tone in his statement, saying that he found it to be “clear” that today’s events were “not a defense of this country, but an attack on it.”

Burr noted that he had supported Trump’s reelection and his right to contest the election results in court, but those courts had “now unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected these suits.”

“The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point,” wrote Burr. “It is past time to accept the will of American voters and allow our nation to move forward.”

Several other Republicans also voiced strong criticism of Trump, including Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT), who called for the president to resign or be removed from office. “There is no doubt that the President’s delusion, fabrication, self-interest, and ego have led us – step by step – to this very low, and very dangerous, moment in American history,” tweeted Scott. “The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republican are under attack by the President.”

Bush called out his 2016 GOP presidential primary opponent as having “provoked the disgusting events at the Capitol today.”

“He has gone from creating chaos to inciting insurrection,” tweeted Bush, who urged him to accept his defeat and go home to Florida.

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