WASHINGTON (CBS) — As members of Congress returned to finish the presidential electoral vote count on Wednesday night, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) invoked the hallowed space of the U.S. Capitol – and denounced President Donald Trump – in the wake of the storming of the Capitol earlier in the day.
“This is a special place. This is a sacred place. This sacred place was desecrated by a mob today on our watch. This temple to democracy was defiled by was defiled by thugs, who roamed the halls – sat in this chair, Mr. Vice President – one that you vacated at 2:15 this afternoon,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the mob did not spring up spontaneously.
“The mob was invited to come to Washington on this day by this president for one reason – because he knew the Electoral College vote was going to be counted this day,” Durbin said.
He said President Trump wanted the mob to disrupt the vote.
“This mob was inspired by a president who cannot accept defeat,” Durbin said.
Durbin said President Trump was already has been spreading “wild conspiracy theories” about the 2020 election. He pointed in particular to President Trump’s remarks in a call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump said in part: “”All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
“This president begs, he coaxes, he even threatens that secretary of state to find the votes he needs,” Durbin said. “In any other venue, that would be an obvious crime.”
Durbin compared the push to contest the 2020 election to the 1876 election between Republican Ohio Gov. Rutherford B. Hayes and Democratic New York Gov. Samuel Tilden. At the end of the night on Election Night, Tilden was ahead in the popular vote, but Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were disputed.
Hayes ended up being elected as a result of the Compromise of 1877. But there was a price.
“It was a commission that killed Reconstruction, that established Jim Crow – that even after the Civil War, which tore this nation apart, it re-enslaved African-Americans,” Durbin said, adding that the compromise also led to a trend of voter suppression that persists to this day.
Durbin earlier issued a statement on Twitter condemning the violence and President Trump’s words.
“President Trump incited his followers to violence. They stormed the Capitol and stopped the House and Senate in session. We do not know at this point the extent of the damage or injuries they have caused,” he tweeted. “This shameful chapter in our nation’s history is the real legacy of Donald Trump. On January 20, we can begin the process of healing the wounds of this country and start to put this national nightmare behind us.”
This shameful chapter in our nation’s history is the real legacy of Donald Trump. On January 20, we can begin the process of healing the wounds of this country and start to put this national nightmare behind us.
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) January 6, 2021
Supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of the Senate as lawmakers counted electoral votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election. The chaos erupted shortly after Mr. Trump gave a speech once again falsely claiming to have won a second term.
The angry mob clashed with police, climbed walls and broke windows and doors at the Capitol Building. Some breached the Senate Chamber as police officers drew their guns.
The nation’s capital was under curfew Tuesday night as a result of the violence. One woman died after she was shot at the Capitol and several others were hospitalized with injuries, officials said.
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