New York City’s Republican politicians and clubs denounced the violent coup attempt by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday — but stopped short of calling for the Commander-in-Chief to be impeached.
The city’s only federal Republican elected rep, Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, denounced the violent mob, but nevertheless sided with her fellow GOP lawmakers in Washington by voting against the election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona, citing baseless allegations of voter fraud.
“It has been really heartbreaking to see what happened yesterday,” she said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday. “I have to say that I hope that the individuals who created chaos and violence and attacked our police should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
The freshman lawmaker followed up on Twitter Thursday afternoon justifying her vote, saying:
“I voted against certification of the two challenged states not to ‘overturn an election’ but to highlight need for a proper hearing into unconstitutional rule changes, irregularities and alleged fraud. I swore an oath to the Constitution and REFUSED to turn a blind eye.”
I voted against certification of the two challenged states not to “overturn an election” but to highlight need for a proper hearing into unconstitutional rule changes, irregularities and alleged fraud. I swore an oath to the Constitution and REFUSED to turn a blind eye. 🇺🇸
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) January 7, 2021
Several other Big Apple Republicans echoed similar denouncements of violence, while casting a wide net to rejecting that kind of behavior “no matter who is doing it.”
“What’s happening right now at the US Capitol is wrong on every level,” said Councilman Steven Matteo in a tweet Wednesday. “I understand the frustration that so many Americans feel about the Presidential election. I understand the desire to protest and I support the right of all to peacefully protest. With that said, storming and occupying government buildings is never acceptable, no matter who is doing it. Mob rule is simply not acceptable. Violence is not acceptable. Violence against law enforcement and anyone else is not acceptable.”
What’s happening right now at the US Capitol is wrong on every level. It is putting law enforcement officers in danger and preventing the US Congress from performing its Constitutional duty.
— Steven Matteo (@StevenMatteo) January 6, 2021
Matteo’s fellow GOP colleagues in the City Council issued similar statements as the chaotic insurrection unfolded, where one protester was fatally shot by police and three people died from separate medical emergencies, according to reports.
Federal investigators are also looking into two explosive devices found in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, according to ABC News.
However, the five borough’s Republicans declined to call for consequences for President Trump, reiterating that violence was bad whether from the right or the left.
“This isnt [sic] good. Violence will not change the outcome. Assaulting police will not help. It is bad when liberal groups do it, and its [sic] bad now. Period,” tweeted Councilman Joe Borelli.
Said Queens Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich, “The chaos that is currently underway at our nation’s Capitol is an embarrassment. People have a right to protest but this is pure anarchy. No American, Democrat or Republican, should ever condone violence.”
The statements contrasted sharply with calls from across the aisle, where New York City’s Democratic lawmakers demanded Trump’s immediate removal via impeachment or by invoking the 25th Amendment — which provides that the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members can declare the president unfit to discharge his duties, and remove him from his official duties.
The head of the Manhattan GOP Andrea Catsimatidis also condemned the rioters, but said Trump wasn’t to blame, because she argued the commander-in-chief called for a peaceful protest after rally-goers became violent.
“President Trump called for peaceful protest, the key word being ‘peaceful’, not rioting. When the riot started, he called for people to remain peaceful and condemned any violence,” Catsimatidis told AMNew York in a statement.
Trump told supporters ahead of the takeover that they should “cheer on” Republican politicians working in the legislature to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
“We’re gonna walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave Senators, Congressman and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong,” Trump said.
After chaos erupted, the President issued a video message on social media calling on his supporters to go home, while reiterating that the election was fraudulent.
“We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” he said. “But you have to go home now, we have to have peace, we have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order, we don’t want anybody hurt.”
Catsimatidis posted retweets claiming that antifascists and other leftists infiltrated the pro-Trump crowd. When asked to comment about those assertions, she doubled down — citing a now-deleted tweet by former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik claiming a bearded man and another guy wearing a mask at yesterday’s protest were undercover Black Lives Matter supporters.
She also cited a New York Post report claiming leftist infiltration based off of one anonymous law enforcement source.
“I think this point needs to be investigated. There have been so many Trump rallies and none of them included riots until now which is suspicious,” Catsimatidis told amNewYork Metro in a statement. “I’ve seen some evidence circulating of ads looking for antifa members to dress as Trump supporters, as well as communist tattoos on some of the rioters, and pictures of actual rioters who were at the left-wing riots over the past year. Antifa had every reason to do this and it is definitely their MO.”
The “communist” tattoo claim she and others have made online was debunked by BBC journalist Alistair Coleman, who tweeted that it was a symbol from the video game “Dishonored.”
There are claims that the bearded guy in this photo inside the Capitol is Antifa because of his hand tattoo.
— Alistair Coleman (@alistaircoleman) January 6, 2021
In Queens, the head of the local GOP denounced the Wednesday protest as counter to the Republican Party, calling it a “dark moment in our history.”
“Yesterday’s actions at the Capitol were a disgrace and do not represent the values of our party, the party of Lincoln,” Queens Republican Party Chair Joann Ariola told amNewYork Metro in a statement. “It was a dark moment in our history and it cost people their lives. Violence, property damage and disrespect toward law enforcement are never acceptable, no matter who is doing it.”
Ted Ghorra, chair of the Brooklyn Republican Party, echoed fellow party leaders.
“Everybody has a right to a peaceful protest [to express] their opinion and view, but obviously there should be no violence of any kind,” he told amNewYork Metro in a phone interview. “I don’t care what the issue is, the political tenor, tone — it needs to be ratcheted down across the country.”
With reporting by Rose Adams