Farm groups condemn US Capitol riots

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Capitol dome, Washington D.C., Farm and Dairy file photo
Farm and Dairy file photo.

*Updated 1/8, 12:05 p.m.

On Jan. 6, as legislators worked on certifying the Electoral College vote, a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, following a Trump rally. The riot resulted in five deaths, according to The Associated Press.

During the rally earlier that day, Trump encouraged protesters to go to Capitol Hill. Once there, some Trump supporters tore down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and broke into the building, many carrying Trump flags, American flags or Confederate flags. Tear gas was set off in the Rotunda. Lawmakers, staff members and others were evacuated from the House and Senate chambers.

Police also recovered pipe bombs outside the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, as well as a cooler from a vehicle on Capitol grounds that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail, The Associated Press reported.

Later in the day, after the building was secured, Congress returned. Lawmakers finished certifying the election results well after midnight.

Ag response

In a Jan. 6 press release, the National Farmers Union called the mob’s actions “a disturbing attempt to undermine the will of American voters.”

“National Farmers Union and its members support all Americans’ right to free speech and peaceful protest, but these acts of intimidation and terror have no place in this country, and they cannot be condoned or brushed aside,” said president Rob Larew. “More than that, this event demonstrates just how fragile democracy truly is. It doesn’t exist simply because it is written in the Constitution; it requires action on the part of every American.”

In a Jan. 7 statement, the National Young Farmers Coalition noted the difference in the law enforcement response to the Jan. 6 events from the response to Black Lives Matter protests last summer, and condemned the mob’s actions.

““We cannot allow instigators and their followers to mistake the essential right to political protest with the privilege to impose their violence and buffoonery,” said Martin Lemos, co-executive director for the coalition. “We are relieved that yesterday ultimately witnessed Congress upholding the results of our fair and just elections. What remains is for us to reinforce our democratic values by imposing the necessary and legal consequences on those who incited violence and sought to damage our democracy at our nation’s Capitol.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a Jan. 7 statement that storming federal buildings and putting lives at risk “is not the answer.”

“Our democracy is precious, and our dedication to the peaceful transfer of power is what sets us apart from much of the rest of the world. This nation was founded on the belief that we can debate our differences without resorting to violence,” Duvall said. “We must come together … and put aside the bitterness that has divided us and rally behind the principles that unite us.”

The National Milk Producers Federation congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and applauded the work Congress did to verify the election results, in a Jan. 7 statement.

“Yesterday’s reprehensible violence was an attack on our democracy, intended to undermine the results of a free and fair election and desecrate the sovereign will of the American people,” the statement reads. “We emphatically reject the rhetoric of elected officials whose words encouraged and perpetuated yesterday’s assault on our democracy.”

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture also issued a statement condemning the riots Jan. 8.

Transition

During the riots, about 90 minutes after lawmakers were evacuated, Trump posted a video asking the rioters to go home, while telling them, “We love you. You’re very special,” The Associated Press reported.

That day and in days following, several lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have called for invoking the 25th Amendment and for impeachment, to push Trump out of office before Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

Trump, who previously refused to concede the election, condemned the violence and said he would now focus on a “seamless transition of power” to the next administration in a Jan. 7 video.

(©2021 Farm and Dairy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.)

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