Stanford alumni in Congress rebuke Capitol riots, Democrats denounce Trump, Hawley

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Stanford alumni in Congress joined the widespread condemnation of Wednesday’s riot in Washington, D.C., where thousands of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building and postponed the certification of November’s presidential election results.

Democrats — including Sen. Cory Booker ’91 M.A. ’92 (D-N.J.), Rep. Mike Levin ’01 (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden ’71 (D-Ore.) — issued strong condemnations of President Donald Trump and other Republicans for feeding disinformation about the election that incited the violent protest.

Rep. Joaquin Castro ’96 (D-Texas) told The Daily that President Trump bore responsibility for Wednesday’s events “for inciting a riot and an insurrection.”

The breach of the Capitol occurred as both houses of Congress convened to certify the results of the November presidential election, a ceremonial act that in most years passes without much notice. This year, however, as President Trump continues to endorse debunked claims of widespread election fraud, the day was instead marked by scenes of violence and disorder by his supporters. 

Many members of Congress, including Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez J.D. ’87 (D-N.M.), tweeted updates throughout the day as rioters breached the Capitol and forced police to barricade offices and evacuate parts of the building. No members of Congress were harmed.

Democrat senators were severe in their condemnation of the day’s events. Sen. Tina Smith ’80 (D-Minn.) called the rioters “seditionists” in a written statement to The Daily. 

Stanford’s Republican alumni in Congress, Sen. Josh Hawley ’02 (R-Mo.) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez MBA ’14 (R-Ohio), also condemned the violence and praised law enforcement but did not mention President Trump or the protestors’ claims of election fraud.

Last week, Hawley announced that he would object to the certification of the electoral college votes, prompting criticism that the senator was continuing to legitimize long-debunked claims of election fraud. Other Republican senators followed soon after. 

Some Democrats in Congress called for the impeachment of President Trump and the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office if the president is deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Among those calling for the removal of the president were Castro, Rep. Ted Lieu ’91 (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mondaire Jones ’09 (D-N.Y.).

“Donald Trump is both dangerous and also out of his mind,” Castro told The Daily.

Although some Republicans seem to support the invocation of the 25th Amendment, no sitting Republican has publicly announced their support. 

Jones and Castro also called for the resignation of several Republican senators who stated their intention to object to the certification of the electoral college vote, including Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“Josh Hawley is a very intelligent person. And he knows better and he knows what he was doing. And he’s an embarrassment to [Stanford] University,” Castro told The Daily.

University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne condemned today’s violence in an email to the Stanford community Wednesday, but did not mention Hawley or Republicans by name.

After the rioters were cleared from the Capitol, Congress reconvened to resume the election certification process. Even as the Senate voted 93-to-6 to affirm the results of Arizona’s election after reconvening, Hawley stood firm in his decision to object to the certification of the vote.

“To those who say this is just a formality today, an antique ceremony that we have engaged in for a couple of hundred years, I can’t say that I agree,” he said. “The opportunity to be heard, to register objections is very vital because this is the place where those objections are to be heard and dealt with, debated and finally resolved. In this lawful means, peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets.”

As the certification process continued into the night, the gravity of Wednesday’s events was not lost on any Stanford alumni in Congress.

“People give their lives so that we can live in a peaceful and free society with a peaceful transition of power,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan ’89 (D-Pa.) tweeted. “Today’s violent actions at the Capitol are the antithesis of who we are as a country.”

Contact Evan Peng at pengevan ‘at’ stanford.edu and Daniel Wu at dwu21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Evan Peng '22 does photo and writes sometimes. Find him on Instagram @evan.png or at pengevan 'at' stanford.edu.
Daniel Wu '21 is a Desk Editor for News, and also contributes to Sports, Arts & Life and The Daily's Graphics team. Contact him at dwu21 'at' stanford.edu.