Today, on the second day of the 2021 legislative session, Jim and I were sponsors of the following Joint Resolution, J.R.H. 1, adopted by the Vermont General Assembly:
Whereas, on January 6, 2021, President Donald J. Trump addressed thousands of supporters, urging them to go to the U.S. Capitol in support of his false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election, and
Whereas, the President’s supporters marched to the Capitol and violently stormed the building, attacking police officers, ransacking offices, terrorizing the members of Congress, and forcing the stoppage of the certification of President-elect Biden’s electoral victory, and four people died as a result of the violence, and
Whereas, the actions of this mob were not just criminal and lawless, they constituted a direct attack upon our democracy, and
Whereas, this attack was instigated by President Donald Trump, who is attempting to overturn the results of a fair and free election that he lost in order to keep himself in power, and
Whereas, Governor Phil Scott forcefully stated that “The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the President” and called for President Trump to resign or be removed from office, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly condemns the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 as an attack on democracy, and be it further
Resolved: That the General Assembly calls for President Donald J. Trump to resign or to be removed from office by his Cabinet or by the Congress, and be it further
Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Michael Pence, and the Vermont Congressional Delegation.
The significance of the violence that took place at the United States Capitol on January 6th cannot be overstated. The Trump-inspired mob that sacked the hallowed halls of our Republic attempted to steal from us our most fundamental democratic right: the right to choose our leaders. They failed. But the wound they opened, while it will heal, will leave a lasting scar.
The sacking of the Capitol feels very personal to many Vermonters. In our brave little state, many of us know Peter or Patrick or Bernie. As we watched in horror, we feared for their safety. Thirty years ago, I began working for Senator Leahy in the Russell Senate Office Building and I have friends who still work for him in those same offices. It’s where I met my wife who worked for Senator Bill Bradley.
The causes of yesterday’s desecration on Capitol Hill took root years ago. Some might point to Trump’s rise to political prominence in 2015, but our country’s history of white nationalism, racism, and xenophobia that led to Trump’s election goes back centuries. At various times these deeply rooted forces have been suppressed, but these invasive weeds always push through when given care and feeding by American leaders. And in the last four years, Trump, aided and abetted by thousands of elected officials and right-wing media allies, has carefully tended to the ignorance, white nationalism, racism, and xenophobia that marched on Capitol Hill yesterday.
In the wake of the Trump Presidency, our task remains to uproot the invasives he has nourished.
Not all is dark in our democratic institutions, however, and I want to call out one wonderful bipartisan moment of many in yesterday’s opening day of the Vermont House of Representatives. Rep. Jill Krowinski was elected as our new House Speaker. Jill’s election is noteworthy for several reasons. She is a young, deeply experienced, highly talented woman who will do an excellent job. It was the final nominating speech by Rep. Tom Burditt from West Rutland that brought tears to my eyes. Tom, a conservative Republican, spoke emotionally of his long friendship and bipartisan policy work with Jill. He spoke of how they had encouraged and supported one another as new legislators a decade ago. My tears were in appreciation of how common these types of relationships are in Montpelier, but also in mourning how rare these bonds are in other state capitals.
It is an honor and privilege to serve as your state representative. I’m hoping Vermont’s elected leaders can set an example for the nation as we work to heal from yesterday’s attack.