Local lawmakers who objected to Electoral College certification denounce Washington violence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Local lawmakers who objected to the Electoral College certification process denounced the violent protesters that swarmed the Capitol on Wednesday in protest of President-elect Joe Biden.

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, the former sheriff of Jacksonville, came out strongly against the actions of protesters supporting President Donald Trump. He called their actions a disgrace.

“The lawlessness taking place here in our nation’s capital is unacceptable and un-American,” Rutherford tweeted. “You cannot say you stand for law and order and then act this way. Pray for our law enforcement as they secure the area and keep us safe.”

Rutherford told News4Jax he thought Trump needed to step up and ask the protesters to evacuate peacefully, something Trump eventually did in a video that was later removed by Facebook and Twitter.

“I saw that video,” Rutherford later told News4Jax. “I think he could have been much more directive in his comments. Less about the election, himself, and more about the safety of the people in our Capitol.”

MORE: Trump supporters storm US Capitol, lawmakers evacuated

In a tweet last week, Rutherford said that “objecting to state electors is not undemocratic; it’s part of a specific checks and balances process outlined in federal law and our constitution. If state executive branch leaders violated their own election laws, then that’s fraudulent. Congress should not allow it.”

“This was not being done in support of the president, this was being done in support of the Constitution,” Rutherford said of the protests Wednesday.

Rutherford said he still intends to object to specific states and the chaos inside the Capitol didn’t affect his intent.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, also called on Trump to help restore order.

“Mr. President @realDonaldTrump the men & women of law enforcement are under assault. It is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down. There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy,” Rubio tweeted.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, of Florida, echoed those sentiments, as did another local lawmaker.

“Violence has no place in our politics. This needs to stop now!” U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack tweeted.

Cammack, who won Florida’s 3rd Congressional District that stretches from Clay and Putnam counties in 2020, was tweeting as protesters stormed the Hill.

“On the House floor, getting reports of buildings being locked down and evacuated. No matter what, peace must prevail. As we fight for our Constitutional Republic on the House floor, I am asking everyone to please remain peaceful and respect the Capitol police doing their job,” she tweeted. “We are locked in the House Chamber. They have suspended debate. We have just been briefed the Capitol has been breached. They are asking us to put on masks for tear gas.”

Cammack later said she and her staff were safe and away from the Capitol.

“Please pray for our law enforcement and for peace,” Cammack tweeted.

Cammack made it clear last week that she planned to object to the electoral college certification process despite the fact that the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.

“Today is a sad day for our democracy. This is an embarrassment, and a direct result of President Trump’s inability to accept his loss,” U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who represents Florida’s 5th Congressional District, said, in part, in a statement. “This mob was incited by the president and his four years of disgraceful rhetoric.”

Other leaders also offered their thoughts on the violence in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a clear difference between peaceful protests and attacking the rule of law. No City should have to endure what we are watching unfold today. It’s a blatant attack on democracy and should not be tolerated. I’m praying for our great country,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said in a statement to News4Jax.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued the following statement: “Violence or rioting of any kind is unacceptable and the perpetrators must face the full weight of the law. The Capitol Police do an admirable job and I thank them for their hard work.”

In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp spoke out through social media, saying:

Outgoing Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler also released a statement condemning the actions of the protestors Wednesday afternoon. Senator Loeffler also reversed her decision to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s certification.

Senator Loeffler was defeated in one of two historic Senate runoff races on January 5th.

Also defeated, was Senator David Perdue. He has not released a statement regarding the events on Capitol Hill.

As pro-Trump protests raged in Washington, about 50 protesters also took to the state Capitol grounds in Tallahassee. Members of the controversial group, The Proud Boys, were present.

Protesters held signs in support of President Trump and reading “Stop the Steal.”

Lawmakers were not present in Tallahassee but will return for their first round of committee meetings for the 2021 session next week.

About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.