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Hometown papers demand expulsion of GOP lawmakers who stoked insurrection

Editorial boards around the country are responding to last week’s deadly coup attempt.

By Josh Israel - January 11, 2021
Josh Hawley

Newspapers around the country are demanding punishment for Republican lawmakers who helped fuel last week’s deadly attacks on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump.

At least five people died on Wednesday, Jan. 6, including one law enforcement officer, when thousands of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol building as a joint session of Congress met to certify the results of voting in the Electoral College in the 2020 presidential election.

The editorial boards of at least 13 newspapers have called for the expulsion, resignation, or retirement of lawmakers who voted to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s victory or otherwise pushed false conspiracy theories that Trump was the real winner.

Aurora Sentinel

The Colorado newspaper called on Thursday for Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn and “other Trump insurgent abettors” in Congress to resign.

“Both should immediately resign their seats for having knowingly participated in yesterday’s gruesome failed coup. If their excuse was ignorance, that, ‘who knew such a thing could happen,’ either would be too dimwitted to hold such important offices,” the editorial said. “If they persist in believing their pursuit against election fraud is valiant, they are too corrupt to be members of this nor any government.”

Danville Register & Bee

The editorial board of the Virginia newspaper urged Rep. Bob Good to resign his seat for violating his oath of office and being “unfit to serve,” noting it would make the same request of Reps. Morgan Griffith, Ben Cline, and Rob Wittman “if they represented us.”

“Your actions on Wednesday in objecting to the verification of the Electoral College’s vote to certify Joe Biden as the new president was a violation of the oath above you swore on Sunday,” they wrote on Saturday. “We had reached the conclusion that you must resign based on the demerits of your decision to join the coalition of Republicans who decided that party was more important than democracy and signed your name to the protests of verified votes by American citizens.”

Decatur Daily

In an editorial published on Sunday, the Alabama outlet urged Rep. Mo Brooks to step down from his seat in Congress.

“We have had our differences with Brooks in the past, but he is, for better or worse, the duly elected congressman from Alabama’s 5th District. On Wednesday, however, he disgraced his office. He encouraged protesters to start ‘kicking ass,’ and lo and behold they did. Ideas have consequences. He aided Trump’s illegitimate effort to stay in office. … Brooks should resign.”

Houston Chronicle

The editorial board of the second-largest newspaper in Texas on Saturday published an editorial titled, “Resign, Senator Cruz. Your lies cost lives.”

Arguing that Sen. Ted Cruz deserves “special condemnation”: “A brilliant and frequent advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court and a former Texas solicitor general, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing, what he was risking and who he was inciting as he stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and passionately fed the farce of election fraud even as a seething crowd of believers was being whipped up by President Trump a short distance away.”

Noting that Cruz’s lies helped spur the assault on the Capitol, the board wrote, “You are unlikely to be prosecuted for inciting the riots, as Trump may yet be, and there is no election to hold you accountable until 2024. So, we call for another consequence, one with growing support across Texas: Resign.”

Kansas City Star

The Kansas City, Missouri, newspaper’s editorial board published two editorials on Thursday: one titled, “Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt” and the other, “If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had a conscience, he’d resign. He’ll have to be removed.”

In the second editorial, the board wrote, “If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had shown any evidence that there’s a conscience in there somewhere, underneath the ambition and the artifice and the uncommon combo of striving and laziness that he’s somehow made work for him, then we wouldn’t be where we are right now. We wouldn’t, that is, be wondering what to say to a man who, having so disgraced his office, and our state, must either resign or be removed from the U.S. Senate.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On Thursday, the Milwaukee outlet called for Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, and Rep. Tom Tiffany to either resign or be expelled “for siding with Trump against our republic.”

“Fitzgerald and Tiffany were the only members of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin who joined in an insurrection built upon a foundation of ignorance and lies,” the editorial board wrote.

Noting that Johnson had ultimately voted against overturning the election results, they blamed him for “Sen. Ron Johnson decided to vote against both baseless challenges to certified votes only after our nation’s Capitol was sacked as Congress gathered to perform its simple constitutional duty to recognize the Electoral College vote. But Johnson had been shilling for Trump and this moment for days, adding kindling to the megalomaniac’s fire, so his last-minute switch does nothing to absolve his role in stoking this shameful day in American history.”

Orlando Sentinel

An editorial published by the Florida paper’s editorial board on Thursday  called Sen. Rick Scott and Reps. Katherine Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Byron Donalds, Neal Dunn, Scott Franklin, Matt Gaetz, Carlos Giménez, Brian Mast, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Greg Steube, and Daniel Webster “enemies of democracy” who “brought shame on themselves, on their offices and on Florida”: “Each is unfit for office and none should be returned if they have the audacity to seek reelection in 2022.”

Philadelphia Inquirer

The editorial board of the Philadelphia paper published an editorial Thursday calling for “Republican lawmakers who were complicit in sparking a coup attempt by their continued support of Trump’s baseless lies of a rigged election” to “face consequences.”

Noting the eight Pennsylvania Republican congressmen who had backed efforts to throw out their constituents’ votes — Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Lloyd Smucker, Fred Keller, John Joyce, Guy Reschenthaler, Glenn Thompson, and Mike Kelly — the board wrote, “In speeches into the night, Perry and his Republican colleagues from the commonwealth and elsewhere repeated easily disputed lies — including those about Pennsylvania voting law that originated in the Republican General Assembly — that have been already debunked or dismissed by the courts.”

“If they believe so strongly in election fraud that they’re calling to overturn the presidential race, how can they serve with confidence that their own elections were legitimate?” the board asked. “If they don’t resign, they should take responsibility for the damage that they inflicted to American democracy, and at the very least, apologize. But we won’t hold our breath.”

San Antonio Express-News

On Saturday, the San Antonio publication urged impeachment for Trump and “expulsion for enabler Cruz” based on “his efforts to undermine the presidential election.”

“It was Cruz who gathered support of other senators and senators-elect to object to the formal counting of electoral votes, not because there was voter fraud but because of the ‘unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,'” the editorial board noted. “It was Cruz who cynically said to Democrats on the Senate floor before the mob descended: ‘I understand your guy is winning right now.'”

“It remains to be seen if the assault on the Capitol is a warning sign or a turning point for this nation. If we seek a turning point in support of democracy, then those who have damaged it must be sanctioned and repudiated,” the board wrote.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis newspaper’s editorial board published an editorial on Thursday calling for Sen. Josh Hawley to “do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now.”

“Sen. Josh Hawley had the gall to stand before the Senate Wednesday night and feign shock, shock at what happened — hours after he had fist-pumped and cheered the rioters as they arrived on Capitol Hill,” the board wrote. “Hawley’s tardy, cover-his-ass condemnation of the violence ranks at the top of his substantial list of phony, smarmy and politically expedient declarations.”

University of Virginia Cavalier Daily

The campus newspaper of the University of Virginia also called out Virginia Reps. Cline, Good, Griffith, and Wittman on Thursday and urged their removal.

“Only three days into his term as congressman, Rep. Good has already significantly contributed to the same dangerous rhetoric that caused the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville — the very community he was sent to Congress to represent,” the editorial board wrote. “Those who objected to the election certification have proven their blind loyalty to Trump over the will of the American people. Their indulgence in conspiracy theories warrants immediate expulsion from their roles as representatives of the people.”

Wichita Eagle

In an editorial published Wednesday, the Kansas paper’s editorial board wrote that Sen. Roger Marshall and Reps. Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner, and Tracey Mann “share the blame” for the “calculated, premeditated, violent assault on democracy and our country’s commitment to the peaceful transfer of power.”

“Remember them, Kansas voters,” the board urged. “Hold them accountable.”

York Dispatch

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania outlet demanded the resignation of Rep. Scott Perry.

Its editorial board blasted him for “leading a gang of Republican congressmen in an ill-advised, ultimately fruitless attempt to disenfranchise his own constituents by objecting to the counting of the electoral votes from ‘my beloved commonwealth of Pennsylvania.’

“If Perry truly believes that the election that returned him to the Capitol for a fifth term was illegal and the results should be overturned, he does have a personal recourse. He can and should resign. Immediately.”

So far, no Republican lawmakers have acknowledged that their actions helped fuel the mob attacks.

Asked by reporters on Thursday if he believed he bears any of the blame for the rioting the previous day, Ted Cruz answered, “Not remotely.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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