Republican lawmakers reacted to the storming of the Capitol with varying levels of condemnation on Wednesday, illustrating how deeply conflicted the party is over President Trump's ongoing promotion of unfounded election conspiracy theories.
Some, like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), offered only the most tepid of statements: "Thank you to the brave law enforcement officials who have put their lives on the line," he said. "The violence must end, those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job."
But most others, like Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a Trump supporter, were far more forceful. "The president needs to call it off," he said, adding: "It's over. The election's over. And the objectors need to stop meddling with the primal forces of our democracy here."
Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), who has expressed concerns about voting problems but had not been posed to object to certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win, also forcefully condemned Trump's response to the crisis. "Unacceptable. Enough. Acknowledge Biden as president-elect and end this madness," Meijer tweeted. "Violent rioters laid siege to the nation's Capitol in an act of insurrection unparalleled in modern times. This is not leadership."
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who was endorsed by Trump in 2019, also didn't mince words. "Today, the United States Capitol — the world's greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his vice president for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution," Sasse slammed, adding: "This is not how we peacefully transfer power."
Former White House communications director Alyssa Farah also spoke out and conservative publications published op-eds condemning the day's events. "Donald Trump unleashed a mob on Capitol Hill," wrote John Podhoretz of Commentary Magazine, adding: "Nancy Pelosi should call an emergency session of the House tonight and impeach the president, and Mitch McConnell should convene the Senate tomorrow and call a vote to remove Trump from the presidency."
The National Review echoed the sentiment. "The nauseating scene in Washington, D.C., is Trump's fault," wrote Michael Brendan Dougherty.