Sen. Bob Menendez lamented the wound delivered to the nation’s democracy after President Donald Trump’s supporters, at his urging, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“Today, I shed a tear for our country, which for centuries has inspired the world through its commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” Menendez said. “From Moscow to Beijing and beyond, autocrats are likely smiling as they witness America in disarray, at war with itself, and no longer a credible messenger for the democratic values that have always defined our great Republic.”
The mob’s assault halted the largely ceremonial process for hours as lawmakers were forced to hide, in offices with furniture holding doors shut or elsewhere around the Capitol complex, as Capitol Police engaged in an armed standoff with the attackers outside the House chamber.
The blame lay with Trump and his enablers in Congress, who have for weeks parroted the president’s baseless conspiracy theories claiming widespread voter fraud cost the incumbent the election, Menendez said.
“This afternoon, the President poured fuel on that fire by inciting a lawless and violent takeover of the United States Capitol. But he alone is not solely responsible for today’s chaos and disorder,” he said. “For weeks, the same Republicans behind a meritless effort to disrupt the constitutionally-mandated certification of President-elect Biden’s 306 electoral votes have parroted Donald Trump’s wild and baseless conspiracy theories.”
The Senate reconvened to continue the certification process at 8 p.m. Wednesday after chamber leaders from both parties insisted. The House is due to restart its certification at 9 p.m.
“It is a dark day in our country’s history. But we will withstand it,” Menendez said.