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John Kelly after Capitol riot: 'Look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office'

John Kelly after Capitol riot: 'Look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office'
© Stefani Reynolds

Former White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE said America should "look infinitely harder" at who is elected to office following the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Pro-Trump protesters overtook the Capitol as Congress was certifying the electoral vote, forcing lawmakers to evacuate for safety. The situation quickly spiraled out of control, with rioters entering both chambers and vandalizing offices and statues.

In a statement posted to Twitter by CNN’s Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaSarah Huckabee Sanders touts Trump endorsement Sarah Huckabee Sanders's run for governor an early test for Trump allies CNN's Acosta reacts to Huckabee Sanders gubernatorial bid: 'This campaign is going to be gaslit' MORE, Kelly, who’d been critical of President TrumpDonald TrumpFBI says California extremist may have targeted Newsom House Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Facebook to dial back political content on platform MORE since leaving the White House, said he was "horrified" by what took place.

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“I watched today’s actions on the Hill brokenhearted. Horrified. That’s not us,” Kelly said. “This is an attack on our democracy, our way of life, and not just by the criminals who assaulted our Congress today.”

Kelly continued by saying the Constitution is strong and that Americans are “overwhelmingly devoted to the rule of law.”

He never named Trump explicitly, but Kelly suggested that Americans need to "look infinitely harder at who we elect" to office.

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“We need to look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office in our land. At the office seeker’s character, at their morals, at their ethical record, their integrity, their honesty, their flaws, what they have said about women and minorities, why they are asking office in the first place, and only then consider the policies they espouse.”

Many have blamed Trump for inciting the riot. The president has stoked divisions throughout his tenure and repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about his defeat in the presidential election.

Kelly ended his statement by praising Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Bringing America back from the brink Senate GOP slow walking Biden's pick to lead DHS MORE’s (R-Ky.) remarks before the riot, in which he said it would be “unfair and wrong” to overturn the Electoral College vote.

He also praised President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Science denialism in the new administration Jill Biden to offer input on helping reunite separated immigrant families: report MORE’s remarks, in which he said the riot “borders sedition and it must end down” and called on Trump to “step up” and condemn the violence.

“Leader McConnell’s remarks this afternoon just before the riots were I think words for the ages and not from a politician, but from a statesman,” Kelly said. “President-elect Biden’s were presidential and right to the heart of what we have to do to heal ourselves. God Bless America.”

Four people died amid the riot, including one woman who was shot and three who suffered “medical emergencies” near the Capitol grounds.