Reactions to the storming of the U.S. Capitol building by a large number of President Trump supporters Wednesday sparked some strong reactions from New York's Congressional delegation and political experts in Central New York. Among them was Rep. John Katko who issued this statement just after 5:00 p.m:
"I am grateful to all of those who have reached out regarding my safety today. The support and concern expressed is humbling. I am in a safe location.
Katko continued: "The attack on the U.S. Capitol is shameful and completely unacceptable. It has endangered the lives of our law enforcement and countless others. This is anything but a peaceful protest. The violence must stop immediately. President Trump must take a more forceful stand to end this, now.”
“I am praying for a peaceful conclusion. We are a strong country. We will recover from this and we certainly must learn from it," concluded Katko.
Around 5:30, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also released a brief statement:
“My staff and I are safe and currently in lockdown. The storming of the U.S. Capitol is a stain on American democracy. Make no mistake—this disgraceful violence will not stop the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20.”
The Senate's incoming Majority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, tweeted:
"Those who performed today's reprehensible acts were rioters, insurrectionists, thugs, domestic terrorists. They don't represent America. They were violent extremists who tried to take over the Capitol. They must be prosecuted to the full extent. But tonight Democracy will triumph," concluded Schumer.
Syracuse University Political History Professor Margaret Thompson agreed with President-elect Joe Biden in calling it an insurrection.
"People are disappointed when their candidates lose. There's no question about that, and believe me, I've been on the losing side of many elections. But this has gone beyond that. This has gone beyond to what can only be called fanaticism."
She says the President and Congress members who continued to push the false narrative of a fraudulent election carry responsibility.
"The point is, they should know that there are people out there who will take their statements quite literally and they will go too far, and they have gone too far. And also, and maybe this is even more important, ... they're puting the American political system and constitutional governance in danger."
She calls the movement that led to today’s violence ‘scary’ noting that some of the protestors at the capitol said they would never accept the legitimacy of the election, and heard that echoed by elected officials.
"Certainly there are people who will misinterpret those kind of public statements, and saying, 'we're just csrrying it to its logical conclusion.' I think that's what's happened here. These people somehow think they're being patriotic."
Fellow Syracuse University Professor William Banks , founder of the Institute for Security and Law says the mob and its activities fall short of a coup attempt, though said it was appropriate for police to use force to quell rioting.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also issued a statement calling the violent protests a continuation of the Trump Presidency.
"The cornerstone of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. We must call this what it actually is: a failed attempt at a coup. 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," Cuomo said.Meanwhile New York attorney general Leticia James called the protests despicable, saying if there is bloodshed, it’s on President Trump’s hands.
Onondaga County GOP Benedictine Doran called the actions reprehensible and went as far as chastising her party mate Trump, saying he’s continued to sow unfounded doubts about the election.
Most of those we heard from though, were confident the bedrock principles of Democracy would remain strong … as what was hoped to be a peaceful transfer of power continued forward.