GOP senator to Trump: Urge peace or bear responsibility for additional attacks
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Tuesday urged President Trump to publicly call on his supporters to remain peaceful or be responsible for any additional attacks they carry out.
“I call on President Trump to address the nation and explicitly urge his supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from violence. If our nation experiences additional violence and destruction at the hands of his supporters … and he does not directly and unambiguously speak out now when threats are known, he will bear responsibility,” Portman said in a statement.
Portman’s comments are one of the sharpest public calls from congressional Republicans for Trump to urge his supporters to stand down after rioters breached the Capitol last week. Lawmakers are deeply concerned about the potential for future attacks.
Congress is updating its security plans for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and state capitals are on alert over concerns that the violence at the Capitol could portend more violence across the country.
Portman, who noted that he had been briefed by law enforcement including the FBI, called the threats of additional attacks “deeply concerning.” Federal authorities arrested a Chicago resident on Tuesday who is accused of threatening to commit violence at Biden’s inauguration.
Republicans fumed at Trump after rioters who supported him breached the Capitol while Vice President Pence and Congress were counting the 2020 Electoral College vote. The breach forced lawmakers to scramble to secure locations, caused destruction throughout the building and delayed the proceedings for hours. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died.
Before the attack on the Capitol, Trump, in a speech outside the White House, falsely claimed that he had won the election and encouraged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol and urge Congress to overturn the election results.
Trump told his supporters, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Trump eventually urged his supporters to be peaceful last week, but has defended his rhetoric including saying it was “totally appropriate.”
Portman, in his statement Tuesday, said the president “bears some responsibility” for what happened at the Capitol last week.
“Both in his words before the attack on the Capitol and in his actions afterward, President Trump bears some responsibility for what happened on January 6,” Portman said.
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