Parker County residents weighed in about Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, calling it heartbreaking and a black eye to the nation.
During a rally of President Donald Trump supporters, hundreds stormed the Capitol during the Electoral College certification, breaching the building and reaching at least one of the chambers.
“Wednesday began as a day of reckoning for President Donald Trump’s futile attempt to cling to power as Congress took up the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory,” according to report from the Associated Press. “It devolved into scenes of fear and agony that left a prime ritual of American democracy in tatters.”
Weatherford resident WD Kimzey, a Democrat, said he believes conspiracy theories — including repeated unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud — were what led up to Wednesday’s events.
“I don’t know if something like this has happened before, but if it has, we’ve never had a president who instigated it,” he said. “I’m sure the people involved at the Capitol thought they were right but I think they were misinformed. Maybe in the long-term, we learn a lesson from this, because somehow, a lot of people in this country have a problem judging what is true and what is not.
“There’s so much misinformation out there and it’s up to people’s own judgement whether to believe it or not.”
Aledo resident Julie Bryant, a moderate Republican, echoed those comments, saying people don’t know what to believe anymore.
“This country has become a country of people who choose their news outlet and they’ll stick with whatever that news outlet has to say, and they’ll believe it,” she said, adding that she’s heartbroken that Wednesday’s event went so far. “We don’t know if the people who attacked the Capitol were legitimately a part of that protest. We don’t know who led that attack, we don’t know who planned it, you don’t just show up and not plan on doing something like that.”
According to AP News, four people died during the incident — one woman was shot and killed by police, three others died in apparent medical emergencies. On Thursday morning, there was a heavy police presence at the Capitol.
Trump was quoted as saying, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” to the crowd Wednesday morning before the incident, adding, “Let the weak ones get out. This is time for strength.
Several politicians called for calm Wednesday, with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott saying the "violence and mayhem must stop."
Congressman Pat Fallon, who formerly served as the senator over Parker and Palo Pinto County areas in District 30, and who was inside the Capitol building for the certification process, thanked police forces for their "bravery and valor in keeping members and staff safe."
"Violence and destruction have no place in the United States’ electoral process and I unequivocally reject the actions taken today at the Capitol," he said. "While accountability and transparency in our electoral system is of paramount concern, I do not believe the actions taken today by a select few reflect the spirit of our great nation and I urge all involved to stand down immediately.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also issued a statement calling the behavior unacceptable.
“Those who burned down our cities last year and those who stormed the U.S. Capitol today do not represent the people of this country,” Patrick said. “We can disagree loudly and protest peacefully but the behavior we’ve seen today and in the last year can never be acceptable to any American.”
After facing criticism for not doing enough to end the violence at the Capitol, Trump tweeted a video Wednesday afternoon urging his supporters to “go home in peace.”
Going forward, Kimzey said he thinks Trump should be held accountable, but believes it is too late for anything.
“You can’t impeach somebody in two weeks and the 25th Amendment, that takes several weeks,” he said. “[Trump] only has two weeks left in office, it’s just a question of how much harm he can do between now and when he leaves.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office on Thursday, saying the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately remove Trump.
However, Bryant puts the blame on Congress for not doing their job.
“This is the worst Congress the United States has ever seen. [Chuck Schumer] is the worst senate majority leader the United States has ever seen, Nancy Pelosi is the worst speaker that the United States has ever seen and [they] have done nothing to bring this country together, but have done more to bring strife and separation than any Congress in history and I expect nothing more from [them] for the next four years,” she said. “We are going to live, as Joe Biden has said, through dark days, but it’s not going to be because of the pandemic, it’s going to be because we have a bunch of politicians in Washington, D.C. who won’t do their job. Yesterday’s actions, that was finally a group of people that were saying stop ignoring us.”
Johnson Bryant added that she’s interested to know what the people are supposed to do now.
“We’ve got politicians all over the world condemning this action,” she said. “Where is anybody talking about solving the problem? Where is anybody urging people not to be afraid and trying to come together to find a solution? And I don’t put this on the Democrats, I don’t put this on the Republicans, I put it on both of them.”
Bryant quoted Ezekiel 11:19, which states, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh.”
“When [God’s] had enough he’ll handle it his way,” Bryant said. “And sadly, on that day and in a blink of an eye, there will be too many who will be lost forever.”
In the early morning hours of Thursday, Congress certified Joe Biden’s electoral college win.