Editor's Note: The Cullman County GOP has released a statement regarding Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying election results confirming Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
Cullman’s Chatty Freeman got a close-up view of the events in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, but not too close.
“We were near the back of the march,” she told The Cullman Times Wednesday afternoon. “We didn’t get close [to the Capitol] at all.”
Freeman arrived in the nation’s capitol on Monday night to attend President Donald Trump’s rally and other events surrounding it. On Wednesday morning, Trump addressed his supporters. Freeman was among the thousands gathered to hear him.
“He did not incite a riot,” said Freeman. “Those yahoos took that upon themselves.”
Freeman, who previously attended a Trump rally in Huntsville, characterized the out-going president’s speech as “fantastic,” and noted, “There were people as far as the eye could see.”
She said weapons were banned from the event, and “everything was peaceful.”
After Trump’s speech, Freeman and her husband made their way to the Lincoln Memorial as a crowd began breaching Capitol security. “All that was happening about the time we turned and went to the Lincoln Memorial,” she said.
Freeman said she is unsure if the individuals who stormed the Capitol were with Antifa (”It’s got Antifa written all over it,” she said) or Republicans upset with the election. If they were Trump supporters, she said, “I understand why they’re doing it. You just want what’s fair and just.”
Members of the area’s legislative delegation issued statements condemning the actions taken by rioters.
“I was on the House Floor this afternoon objecting to the electoral votes with many of my colleagues. We had to evacuate due to a security breach. I ask for your prayers during this time in our nation’s history. God has brought this nation through many dark days over the past 240 plus years. We have more times than not, been able to settle our disputes peaceably. I believe God will continue to guide and protect this nation. However, as a nation we need to seek his guidance in peace. He is in full control!” said Rep. Robert Aderholt.
“Today is a very dark day for our country. I am safe thanks to the protection and swift action by our law enforcement officials. Our Founding Fathers warned against mob rule. Law and order must be established and maintained.” said Senator Richard Shelby.
Terry Lathan, Chair of the Alabama Republican Party, also disavowed the actions taken by those at the Capitol.
“The Alabama Republican Party strongly condemns any violence and unlawful actions occurring on Capitol Hill today. We support law enforcement efforts to control and arrest any person who is violating laws and causing harm to property or people. These actions are not American and cannot be tolerated.
“We strongly support peaceful assembly and protest as guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Electoral College voting process, which is allowed by the Constitution, must be allowed to continue without disruption. It is important that citizens contact their representatives to have their voices heard in an orderly and respectful manner,” she said.
Alabama Democratic Party Chair Christopher J. England called for the prosecution of anyone who took part in Wednesday’s riots and said Trump and other officials encouraged their actions.
“Today, during a joint session of Congress to fulfill the legal obligation to count the votes of the Electoral College, a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building. This mob was encouraged by Pres. Donald Trump, Rep. Mo Brooks, and others at a rally before they breached the doors of the Capitol. They disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, broke the law, and must be prosecuted for their sedition.
The American people voted loud and clear that Donald Trump did not deserve a second term as President of the United States, and the disorder of this lame duck period shows clearly why. Pres.-elect Joe Biden and Vice Pres.-elect Kamala Harris will take office on January 20, 2021 because the Constitution says they will. At that point, this sorry period of American history will be over, but our healing will just begin.
Citizens should note who defended the Constitution and who did not. Politicians who would throw away America’s founding ideals do not deserve to hold office—ever. They should be rejected, and should never be part of public life again for their opposition to our shared values. Mob rule, conspiracy theory mongering, and encouragement of this siege of the Capitol are the natural consequence of years of flirtation by Republican politicians with the fringe elements of their party. As the prophet says, they ‘have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind,’” he said.
The Cullman County Republican Party also issued a statement on Thursday:
"The Cullman County Republican Party was not happy with the results of the 2020 presidential election but will never condone the use of violence, unlawful rioting and the destruction of property to achieve any agenda. The party fully supports all the rights guaranteed to every citizen by the United States Constitution including free speech, peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms and the ability to vote in our elections. On January 6th the local party was deeply saddened as we watched in horror as a few individuals turned an otherwise peaceful protest in our nation’s capital violent. We are thankful that our local congressional delegation members are safe and proud that they properly contested the election results in Washington within the rule of law. The CCRP will continue to advocate for law and order and conservative Christian values from the courthouse to the Whitehouse."