Clarke condemns violence on US Capitol Building

Pro-Trump protesters clash with police as they rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S. Jan. 6, 2021.
REUTERS/Ahmed Gaber

Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke Wednesday night strongly condemned violence that erupted during an attack on the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. by pro-President Donald J. Trump supporters.

As the United States Congress convened to certify the results of the November 2020 Presidential Elections on Wednesday, white supremacists, Proud Boys and MAGA pro-Trump rioters mobbed the Capitol, forcing an emergency recess in the proceedings.

The disruption came soon after some Republican legislators made the first of a planned series of highly unusual objections, based on what has been described as spurious allegations of widespread voter fraud, to states’ election results.

“Today, the Capitol was attached by an insurgent group of domestic terrorists. As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I am concerned for the safety of not only my fellow elected officials but also for the safety of our democracy,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants told Caribbean Life exclusively.

“We are in the throes of a coup, because President Trump refuses to accept the will of the American people,” added Clarke, representative for the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, disclosing that she and her staff were “sheltering in place.”

“President Trump encouraged this day of abhorrent behavior, choosing to issue dog whistles instead of the deliberate condemnation that would’ve been second nature to any of his predecessors,” Clarke continued. “This trend of negligence is his responsibility to protect the American people is intolerable. He must resign immediately. Democracy will prevail.”

Both within the Capitol Building and on the streets of Washington, D.C. violent mobs roamed freely, terrorizing members of the US Congress, staffers and reporters.

The unrest came after Trump’s repeated and baseless insistence that Joseph R. Biden’s election was fraudulent.

A dozen Republican senators and over a hundred Republican members of the House of Representatives aided Trump’s campaign in sowing doubt about the US electoral process.

During the insurgency, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a very vocal critic of Trump, who hopes to indict the president for corruption after he leaves office, told Caribbean Life that “the coup attempt initiated by outgoing President Trump has been despicable.

“Today, it became violent,” she said. “If blood is shed, it will be on his hands. These actions, fueled by lies and wild conspiracy theories espoused by President Trump, must be unequivocally condemned by every corner of our society.”

In response to the violent insurrection in Washington, Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, interim co-executive directors of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an umbrella advocacy group representing hundreds of Caribbean and other immigration organizations, said, “what we are all witnessing in is the predictable culmination of years of a Republican war on the basic democratic foundations of our country.

“Again, and again, the GOP (Grand Old Party) has twisted our Constitution for partisan gain, winked at white supremacists to win votes, and created every burden imaginable to the ballot box,” they said. “Now, as mobs swarm Congress in a futile attempt to overturn the majority of American voters’ will, the Republican Party must take responsibility.

“But our democracy and the power of our vote can’t be stopped by a tantrum of a minority of extremists egged on by Republican politicians, who are desperately clinging to power no matter the cost to our democracy,” Awawdeh and Rajkishun added.

“In 14 days, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in and become our president, and we can begin rebuilding our economy and our health,” they continued. “The path won’t be easy, but we won’t be cowed by bullies.”

Shortly after 3:00 am on Thursday, after the US Congress voted to certify Joe Biden as the next president of the United States, Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, whose 8th Congressional District in New York comprises a significant number of Caribbean immigrants, told Caribbean Life that “yesterday, our democracy experienced a day of unprecedented insurrection, sedition and treason.

“All who have provided aid and comfort to this assault on our Capitol must be held accountable,” said Jeffries, chair of the US House of Representatives’ Democratic Caucus, whose district encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

“Like our great nation, House Democrats are resilient,” he added. “We will never allow violent attacks on our democracy to deter us from our constitutional responsibilities, and that includes the certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States of America.”

Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, will create history on Jan. 20, when she is sworn in as the first Black and Caribbean American Vice President of the United States.

At the inauguration of Biden and Harris as president and vice president, respectively, Jeffries said, “we will leave behind a chapter driven by chaos, crisis and confusion, and begin a new era guided by peace, prosperity and progress on behalf of everyday Americans.

“We will meet the scale of human suffering in our country with an ambitious vision to ‘Build Back Better for The People,’” the congressman affirmed.

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