Gov. David Ige described Wednesday as “a sad day in America’s history” after a mob of Trump supporters pushed past police and stormed the U.S. Capitol.
He put the blame for the violence squarely on the president.
“I do believe that the president in his speech this morning to the protesters clearly incited the action taken, so I do believe that he is responsible for what has happened,” Ige told reporters in a press conference shortly after noon.
One woman was fatally shot inside the Capitol and the National Guard was activated in response to the rioters, who interrupted debate by lawmakers inside the building before counting electoral college votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The U.S. Capitol was cleared by early afternoon Hawaii time.
Ige said it is urgently important that the electoral vote is certified and a peaceful transition of power occurs. “Our democracy and our form of government depends on it,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said he had reached out to the four members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation and determined they are all safe, but he mourned the violence at the U.S. Capitol.
“I personally watched with sadness the destruction of part of our Capitol and some lawless behavior,” he said. “And frankly we should be better than that in America.”
Shirlene Ostrov, chair of the Hawaii Republican Party, and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, issued a joint statement regarding the situation at the U.S. Capitol:
“Violence, vandalism, intimidation, and mob rule have no place in our republic. We strongly denounce today’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, and call upon the protestors to stand down. We pray for a safe resolution and hope that aloha will prevail.”
Outside the Hawaii State Capitol about 150 flag-waving protesters gathered peacefully shortly before noon Wednesday as dozens of uniformed and plainclothes state sheriff’s deputies looked on.
The Hawaii protest was generally orderly, with deputies rushing to intervene in one minor incident at 11:30 a.m. when a passing motorist stopped to shout at the protesters, who quickly gathered at the car. The motorist promptly drove off while making an obscene hand gesture at the demonstrators.
Edward Dirige, 24, was peaceful but visibly angry at the pro-Trump protest Wednesday, standing in front of the state Capitol and yelling through a megaphone. He was unmasked, shouting that the media cannot be trusted, and the statewide shutdown in response to COVID-19 was based on a lie.
His mother and sister are out-of-work hotel employees.
“They said two weeks to slow the spread, and it’s been one year, and our state has been shut down. There’s been more restrictions to our rights as individuals,” he said in an interview. “We don’t need any more government help, we want to just open up without restrictions.”
He didn’t mention Trump, but when asked about the election, he replied: “I love Trump, but it’s bigger than Trump. Whatever happens with Trump now, it’s all in God’s hands.”
Marissa Delaforce, a Salt Lake resident, wore a mask and a “MAGA” hat to the protest, and said she believes there was fraud in the election. In particular, she said it was wrong for courts in election battleground states to dismiss allegations of fraud just because the parties filing the lawsuits did not have standing.
The president’s claims of election fraud have been baseless. On Wednesday, Twitter suspended his account after he tweeted more false claims about the election somehow being stolen from him and excusing the ensuing violence.
“They need to hear what has happened, because this is our future, my children’s children’s future, my grandchildren’s future, and I don’t want our society to turn into socialism or even communism for that reason,” said Delaforce, who works in real estate sales.
“This might be the start of something bigger than what we have ever seen, so this is very important, and that’s why a lot of us are out here, because we care about our constitutional rights,” she said. “We care about our freedom, our faith and our families.”
Green said state officials are closely watching the protests at the State Capitol, and that it seemed people are civilly expressing their free speech rights.
“Right now there are no concerns about violence,” he said. “People have been protesting peacefully.”
“We’re mindful that things can get out of control,” he added, “but we have no indication that there’s a threat of violence breaking out.”
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