An attack by a mob seeking to overturn the presidential election was denounced by Iowa’s congressional delegation along with state and local leaders on both sides of the political aisle.
Five died from injuries sustained during the riot. According to a statement from U.S. Capitol Police, Officer Brian Sicknick was injured while confronting the attackers. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through sundown Wednesday in honor of Officer Sicknick.
Of the other four, one was shot by Capitol Police, while the other three reportedly experienced “medical emergencies.”
At least 40 people were charged and 13 arrested by federal authorities, and the FBI is asking the public to continue to help identify rioters.
Gov. Reynolds, on her personal Facebook page, said she stood with and prayed for the “brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol police” and everyone else who was in harm’s way during the riot.
“This behavior is unacceptable and not who we are as Americans,” Reynolds wrote. Her post received more than 2,700 reactions and garnered 89 shares and more than 2,000 comments.
In a Zoom press call Thursday, called by the Iowa Capitol Press Association, Reynolds asked for everyone to “dial down the rhetoric” over the attack.
“I want to take this opportunity to again just condemn the actions of those who stormed our nation’s Capitol and chose to incite violence (Wednesday),” Reynolds said. “It’s unacceptable.”
She said the rioters should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“That’s not how we resolve our differences in the greatest country on Earth, and it absolutely is not who we are as Americans,” she said.
During the attack, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is the president pro-tempore of the Senate, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, had to be ushered into a secure location from the Senate chamber, as was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The rest of the members of the House and Senate evacuated to safe areas of the Capitol and surrounding office buildings.
Later that night, the joint session of Congress resumed, and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ victory was confirmed by an Electoral College vote of 306-232. The joint session lasted until about 2:30 a.m. CST Thursday.
Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa’s junior senator, and freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, all voted against the objections of the Arizona and Pennsylvania slates of electors in their separate chambers.
Grassley issued separate statements on both the riot and the certification of the vote totals. He called the attack one “on American democracy itself” and said it “was not a demonstration of our protected, inalienable rights.”
“These were un-American acts worthy only of condemnation,” Grassley said in his first statement. “Those who plowed over police barricades, ignored law enforcement or desecrated our monument to representative democracy flouted the rule of law and disgraced our nation.
“I condemn (Wednesday’s) violence in the strongest terms and perpetrators deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Later, after the votes were counted, Grassley added: “The violence and disruption we saw (Wednesday) must not be allowed to disrupt or intimidate us from performing our constitutional duty as lawmakers. I took an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution, even in the face of threats. That is the lens through which I view today’s process.”
In her statement condemning the violence, Ernst mentioned her service in the Iowa Army National Guard, where she retired as a lieutenant colonel after her 2014 election. She said she served beside many men and women to protect American freedoms and values, including the right to peacefully protest.
“Sadly, what I witnessed (Wednesday) in the U.S. Capitol was a complete betrayal of those sacred ideals,” Ernst said in the statement. “What started as a protest turned into anarchy. Individuals who resorted to this violence must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“America – we cannot stand for this.
“For years, we have been able to disagree and debate tough issues and always strive to be a more perfect union. We have had a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another throughout the course of our history, and it’s paramount we do that once again.”
Hinson, a former KCRG anchorwoman who won the 1st Congressional District in November, said in her statement she voted to uphold the constitution. She said the objections to the votes should be settled in the courts.
“I strongly condemn the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol (Wednesday),” she said in an email Thursday. “I support everyone’s right to protest peacefully and exercise their First Amendment rights, and I think many of the people who came to the Capitol yesterday intended to do so. However, the violent attempts to disrupt our democratic process were unacceptable, unpatriotic, and ultimately unsuccessful.”
In Bremer County, State Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, who represents House District 63, said she was disappointed the display of violence.
“There is no excuse for it: it was bad,” Salmon said in an email statement Saturday. “I know people that were able to go to the Capitol Wednesday — good people standing up for honest elections and the future of America. And having been to one of President Trump’s rallies before as well as hearing accounts of them from others, violence and rioting were not part of it.”
Waverly Newspapers also reached out to District 32 Sen. Craig Johnson, R-Independence, but had not heard back by press time.
Salmon’s challenger in the 2020 election, Carissa Froyum, a Democrat from Denver, said in an email to Waverly Newspapers on Monday that the riot was a “homegrown terrorist attack, waged by right-wing extremists.”
“They brandished symbols of white supremacy and killed a police officer,” Froyum said. “Their attack was fueled by lies from President Trump and organized efficiently on social media. We can no longer stay silent about the damage caused by this president and his radical followers. We must not only condemn the violence but commit ourselves to truth and justice.”
Waverly resident David Fredrick, a former Wartburg College international recruiter and former member of the U.S. diplomatic corps, who had served three tours in Zaire and Yemen, when they were designated as dangerous and hazardous duty conditions, said that even in those troubled regions the capital cities were “never attacked by insurrection forces.”
“It is shocking and frightening that we taxpayers pay over $2 billion per year for military and intelligence services and both failed to protect the Capitol, our elected representatives and our constitutional processes last week,” Fredrick said. “President Trump and his loyalists initiated and aided last week’s attempted coup d’état.”