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Ohio Leaders React To U.S. Capitol Insurrection

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Shafkat Anowar
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Several elected officials in Ohio have condemned the mob of pro-Trump extremists that stormed the U.S. Capitol building. State leaders, including Gov. Mike DeWine, have said the insurrection is an attack on democracy.

On Wednesday, after members of Congress were forced to flee the chambers, DeWine called for an immediate end to the violence, calling it an embarrassment to the country and saying President Donald Trump needed to call for his supporters to leave.

"The final step in the constitutional process of electing our president has been disrupted," DeWine wrote in a statement. The stopping of the count of the Electoral College votes has occurred because the security of the U.S. Capitol has been breached by a violent mob. As a nation of laws, this is simply not acceptable. Lawlessness is not acceptable. This is an affront to our Constitution and everything we hold dear. Those who breached the Capitol breached the Constitution. Peaceful demonstrations outside the Capitol are an exercise of the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights. Stopping the constitutional process by which we elect the president is not."

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted called it a "sad day for America" saying Trump as commander-in-chief needed to restore order.

Trump, who had spoken before a crowd of his supporters before they took over the Capitol building, released a video late Wednesday reiterating his false claims of election fraud and telling rioters, "We love you." That video led to the president being temporarily blocked from Facebook and Twitter.

Other Republican statewide office holders condemned the violence, with both of Ohio's Trump-appointed U.S. Attorneys and state Attorney General Dave Yost calling for criminal prosecution.

"The rule of law means the same rules for everybody. Those of us who called for prosecution of the people who stormed the federal courthouse in Portland must apply the same demand to those who stormed the Capitol today," Yost wrote in a statement, referring to Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Portland. "The color of your skin or the slogan upon your banner must not change what is and is not acceptable. Let all of us in Ohio remain peaceful. Do not let a sense of injustice produce more injustice."

Meanwhile, state Rep. Kris Jordan (R-Delaware) suggested in a Facebook post, without evidence, that the people who stormed the Capitol might be anti-Trump "plants." 

"If these people are brought into custody and arrested I hope the media will report on where they came from, if no arrests are made and we never get to know their identities you can draw a conclusion they weren't Trump supporters, rather plants," Jordan wrote. "They don't look like my hundreds of friends, or hundreds of thousands of others, walking around DC today supporting our president."

House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) said Republican leaders in Ohio who supported and defended Trump over the years played a role in allowing the insurrection to happen.

“The attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol by terrorists is the direct result of Republicans undermining the very democratic institutions and principles that they were elected to and swore to protect and uphold," Sykes wrote. "The shallow words from so-called 'leaders' like U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Gov. Mike DeWine, GOP Chairman Jane Timken, and all the others is nothing but a sham to cover their own complicity. Anyone who has defended Trump and his extremist allies are the ones that have allowed this disgraceful attack to overthrow our government."

DeWine was asked in October about Trump's rhetoric and the possibility of not following a peaceful transition of power, DeWine said it wasn't productive to criticize the president but said if the time came he would stand up to Trump and defend the constitution.

When Congress reconvened, five Ohio Republican congressmen objected to the certification of election results in Pennsylvania – Reps. Steve Chabot, Warren Davidson, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson and Jim Jordan – and all but Chabot objected to the certification of Arizona's results. Both efforts to overturn the election results failed, and Congress officially certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory early Thursday morning.

Trump then released a statement acknowledging that his term is coming to a close and promising an "orderly transition on January 20th."

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.