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Utah’s Delegation React To Violent Occupation Of U.S. Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The U.S. Capitol is in disarray Thursday morning after a swarm of President Donald Trump’s supporters violently occupied the building and interrupted the Electoral College vote count.

President-Elect Joe Biden said the incident wasn’t a protest, but rather an insurrection.

Capitol police shot and killed one of the occupiers, and three other people died of medical emergencies. A few dozen people were arrested out of the thousands who were present.

Police and the National Guard were able to get everything under control by the evening, and Congress reconvened. Despite objections to some of the states’ electors, lawmakers eventually certified Biden’s victory just before 2 a.m. Utah time.

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Biden’s victory with a reading of the vote count: 306 for Biden and 232 for Trump.

Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will take office in 13 days.

Leading up to the vote count, Utah Reps. Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart had both announced their intent to object. They ended up voting against an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes, but they both voted for the objection to Pennsylvania’s votes.

Neither of the objections to those states’ votes passed.

Other members of Utah’s delegation have spoken out against those actions.

The Beehive State’s delegation all had to be rushed to safety when the Capitol was breached. Several of them tweeted messages that they were safe while condemning the violence.

“The violence at the United States Capitol is completely unacceptable,” Sen. Mike Lee tweeted. “It is time for protesters to disperse. My staff and I are safe. We are working to finish our constitutional duty to finish counting votes today. God bless the Capitol police keeping us all safe.”

As Congress reconvened, both Lee and Sen. Mitt Romney had strong words to share.

“No Congressional audit is ever going to convince these voters, particularly when the president will continue to say that the election was stolen,” Romney said. “The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.”

He called what happened in D.C. an insurrection incited by the president, saying that “We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride.”

During the lockdown, Rep. John Curtis told KSL that having protesters on the steps of the Capitol was already a security breach.

“I told my staff, ‘This looks like something that happened in Venezuela,'” he said. “This just doesn’t happen here in the United States. It’s totally, totally inappropriate.”

In a statement, Curtis wrote that his “anger continues to grow over today’s desecration of the United States Capitol,” calling the incident an act of “domestic terrorism inspired and encouraged by our President.”

“No American, no elected leader, and certainly no president who participates, inspires, or condones actions such as these has my sympathy or support,” according to his statement.

Owens also posted to Twitter, writing that he was “heartsick” over the events that happened in the nation’s Capitol.

In a thread, Owens wrote that he had been looking forward to his first floor speech.

“I hoped – on behalf of those who felt or who were disenfranchised – to ask that we take a serious look at the transparency of our electoral process,” he wrote. “Because of the unacceptable mob violence demonstrated today, I did not get the chance.”

In his own thread, Stewart said that Wednesday should have been a time for thoughtful and respectful debate but instead was “overcome by a disgusting demonstration of lawlessness.”

He wrote that he continues to have concerns about the security and integrity of elections, but meaningful debate about those issues are now eclipsed by the events that unfolded during the electoral vote counting.

“I have dedicated much of my life to serving my country in the Air Force & now as a Member of Congress,” Stewart tweeted. “I have known brave patriots & know what true patriotism is. The behavior we saw today is not patriotism & I condemn the violent behavior exhibited by the mob at the Capitol.”

“Any encouragement of violent and illegal behavior is inappropriate, especially from our Commander in Chief,” he added.

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