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House Republicans who stoked pro-Trump mob demand Capitol fence be removed

The fencing was placed around the Capitol at the recommendation of the acting Capitol Police chief after Trump supporters stormed the building.

By Donna Provencher - February 05, 2021
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Republican Rep. Chip Roy

On Friday afternoon, Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) tweeted a copy of a letter delivered to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, signed by 42 Republicans, demanding that the security fencing installed around the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., after the complex was stormed by supporters of Donald Trump on Jan. 6 be taken down.

Many of the Republicans who signed the letter helped incite the attack on the Capitol.

Budd commented, “42 House members just sent a letter to @Speaker Pelosi demanding that the militarized Capitol fencing come down and NOT be made permanent. It’s time to open the People’s House.”

The letter reads in part,

It’s time for healing and it’s time for the removal of the fencing so the nation may move forward. … Of course, we all understood that some increase in security was necessary after the tragic events of January 6, but now there is no valid reason to continue the same level of security measures. It is appalling that Communist China allows their citizens more freedom to visit historical sites like Tiananmen Square than currently exists for Americans who want to visit the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The fencing was placed around the Capitol at the recommendation of the acting Capitol Police chief, Yogananda Pittman, after a mob of far-right extremists spurred on by Trump attacked the building, leaving five dead. The fencing was originally intended to be temporary, but Pittman recommended it be made permanent.

“In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” Pittman said.

Lawmakers who signed the letter also tweeted their disapproval of the fencing.

“The US Capitol is the PEOPLE’S HOUSE,” tweeted Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA). “It shouldn’t be a fortress. Why do @HouseDemocrats seem totally comfortable with barbed wire fencing when it’s protecting them, but not when it’s along the southern border protecting the entire country?”

Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) tweeted, “National Guard troops will still be in DC in February. Permanent fencing is being proposed around the Capitol. Many security perimeters are still in place. Where was all of this protection for American businesses when their stores were looted for WEEKS last summer?”

The fencing also drew criticism from the Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser.

“Based on conversations with federal partners, there are some potentially volatile events upcoming that will require extra security. Fencing and the presence of troops will be a part of that,” she tweeted Jan. 28. “But we will not accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC.”

Thirty-five of the 42 House Republicans who signed the letter also voted on Jan. 6 against certifying the results of Electoral College voting in the 2020 presidential election, charging that the election had been stolen from Trump and thereby supporting the lie that had motivated the mob that made extra security measures necessary in the first place.

Other signatories more directly incited the attempted takeover of the Capitol.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) not only voted against the certification of electoral votes, but has faced calls for her resignation by colleagues for her behavior Jan. 6, tweeting, “This is 1776” the morning of the attack and tweeting Pelosi’s movements during the attack.

A month before the attack, Trump loyalist Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) told a crowd at an event held by the right-wing organization Turning Point USA to threaten lawmakers who wouldn’t vote to overturn the election.

“Call your congressman and feel free, you can lightly threaten them and say, you know what, if you don’t start supporting election integrity, I’m coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you, everybody’s coming after you,” he said. Cawthorn also voted against certifying the election results.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), another lawmaker who signed the letter, was named by Ali Alexander, a far-right extremist and organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the insurrection, as a fellow organizer of the riots. Biggs denied the allegations, but also sought clemency from Trump for his involvement.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) did vote to certify the results of the Electoral College voting, but he made inflammatory remarks encouraging violence. Days before the attack, he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, “If we have a Democratically controlled Senate, we are basically at full-scale hot conflict in this country, whereas right now, we’re at a cold civil war.”

Telling Republican voters in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections in January to “hold the line,” Roy said, “That’s what is at stake.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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