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HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle denounced violence in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday after a mob of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol to impede the official count of Electoral College votes.
Sen. Jake Corman, the top Republican in the chamber, said in a tweet, “What is going on in DC should never happen.”
“It cannot be said often enough–we are a nation of laws. This is not our America,” he said. “Violence is not the American way. When our rules and laws are not followed, chaos takes over.”
Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) responded to Wednesday’s events in a tweet that began, “Sheer size of the crowd in DC is emblematic of how divided we are.”
“We can disagree [without] violence,” she continued. “Violence wasn’t OK when groups were destroying property last summer: it’s not ok now. We are a country of laws and without laws, we are doomed.”
Republican leadership in the state House, Speaker Bryan Cutler and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, said in a statement that “Any act of violence or destruction is a crime and should be treated as such.”
“Peaceful transitions of power are something our country has responsibly proceeded with since our founding and should serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world,” the lawmakers said. “An objection to the electoral process is within the rights of members of Congress and has been exercised by members from both sides of the aisle at different times in our nation’s history.”
“However, that process leads to debate and dialogue, not violence and mayhem,” their statement continued. “We strongly condemn any act of violence and destruction and pray for all those impacted today.”
Republican leaders in both the state House and Senate, joined by many members of their caucuses, objected to Wednesday’s Electoral College certification and had cast doubt on the integrity of the state’s presidential election.
State Democrats called on Republican leadership in the Pennsylvania House and Senate “to immediately and unequivocally denounce this violence and support the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power.”
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D., Allegheny) said on Twitter, “What’s happening right now in Washington DC is not a lawful protest. It is a violent takeover attempt of our entire government–urged on by President Donald Trump.”
Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf called what happened at the U.S. Capitol an attempted “coup” by Trump supporters and said he was “disgusted” by it.
“This was the direct result of a deliberate disinformation campaign by Republicans from the President down to legislators in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in a statement. “They lied about the results of the election. They lied about voter fraud. They lied about my administration and other governors. They lied about the administration of the election here in Pennsylvania and across the country. On Nov. 3, we had a remarkably well-run election despite historic challenges.”
“It is past time for Republicans to stop lying and tell their supporters the truth,” he added. “President Trump lost. The election was fair. President Trump received fewer votes. That’s it.”
Outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, a handful of people were gathered near the front of the building to protest the results of the presidential election.
”I’m here because our election has been stolen in every possible way,” Ann Van Tassel, 56 of Hanover, said. Van Tassel said she “100 percent” supports the mob at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Charlotte Keith of Spotlight PA contributed reporting from the Pennsylvania Capitol.
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