All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation reported they were safe after a mob supportive of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the Electoral College certification and shaking the country.
Here is how Maine political figures reacted.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, in an interview:
“I wasn’t in the chamber when the protesters made their way into the Capitol building, but I have talked to a lot of my colleagues who were there. There were shots fired into the chamber and they all had to put on gas masks … It’s pretty chaotic and there definitely has not been enough security presence.”
“[Trump] was encouraging lawlessness, he was pushing people to do this. And it’s just hard to put into context that he’s the president of the United States, and we pride ourselves on the peaceful transfer of power, and he’s inciting people to violence.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R):
“The lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill today was a dangerous, shameful, and outrageous attack on our democracy. But this attack will not deter Congress from performing our constitutional duty. We will affirm the certified results of the presidential election.”
Sen. Angus King (I):
“Today’s violent insurrection at the Capitol is an unspeakably sad moment for our nation – one I never thought I would see in our country. In the face of this unprecedented, despicable display, Congress will now reconvene and complete the people’s business, count the properly certified and authenticated electoral votes, and affirm the undeniable fact that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election fair and square. But the work to address today’s riots, and their threat to our democracy, has just begun.
My colleagues who have remained silent during the past several months, or who have actively abetted the President’s unremitting campaign to delegitimize the election, must now speak the clear and honest facts: this election was fair, as has been confirmed by the President’s hand-picked Attorney General, the nation’s top election security agency, and Secretaries of State in each of our country’s 50 states and the District of Columbia. By continuing to sow disproven seeds of doubt, they are fanning the flames of division and hatred that engulfed our body today; to protect our nation’s democratic values, we must all fight to defend faith in our nation’s elections.”
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District:
“I have been present on the Capitol grounds throughout the duration of today’s chaos, and I will remain here until Congress completes its duty to certify the results of the presidential election. My colleagues and I agree that we will do this tonight to demonstrate that today’s lawlessness will not stop us from fulfilling our oaths to uphold the Constitution.
This is a sad day for our country. Donald Trump called for these rallies, and he helped incite them to riot with his speech today. While we should not be surprised by the president’s actions — he has been signaling his intentions for months — he should be held accountable for today’s violence. But regardless of whether or not Congress can agree to act to hold the president accountable, make no mistake: he will be removed from office on January 20, and Joe Biden will assume the presidency.”
Maine Republican Party:
“We believe in peaceful protest. The activity seen at the United States Capitol today is completely unacceptable and an affront to our Republican values. Republicans believe in law and order, our constitution, and our country, not rioting and violence.”
Gov. Janet Mills (D):
“Like many Americans, I condemn the violence and destruction occurring at the U.S. Capitol. Our country has conducted a free and a fair election in which the American people have spoken, and now the peaceful transfer of power — a hallmark of our democracy — must proceed. I do not believe what we are seeing today is sanctioned by most Americans; nor do I believe it represents the true character of the American people. But it is a clear and troubling reflection of our fractured nation. The violence must end, and all leaders, of every political stripe, including the President, must forcefully denounce these actions and defend our democracy.”
Former Gov. Paul LePage (R):
“I support our men and women in law enforcement, including those who are working to protect our nation’s Capitol. I do not support violence or destruction of any kind. I believe those people who are attempting to occupy our nation’s Capitol building need to leave and go home.”
Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R):
“It’s wrong for any American to engage in violence or property destruction, no matter the reason. What’s going on at the Capitol complex is wrong and must stop IMMEDIATELY. Violence is not constitutionally protected speech.”
Former Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R):
“The actions by supporters of President Trump today in Washington, DC are unacceptable, inexcusable, and reprehensible. Millions of Americans supported the President this past November, and many are disappointed in the outcome of the election. However, this is no excuse for the actions taking place in the US Capitol today. Since the foundation of our nation, we have been a beacon of freedom, rule of law, justice, and a leader in representative democracy. Today is a stain on that reputation and harms us all as Americans and harms us in the eyes of those who look to us as an example around the world.”
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D):
“In America, the voters pick our leaders. Neither Congress nor an armed mob can overturn a free and fair election. Those perpetrating violence must be prosecuted, and the will of the people must be recognized in Washington today, just as it was by the Electoral College last month.”
Maine Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D):
“Like most Americans, we watched aghast at what unfolded on the footsteps of our nation’s Capitol, as what started as protests against the certification of the electoral college results transformed into a violent mob storming the Capitol building. Let us be clear — this is not who we are as Americans and it certainly is not who we are as Mainers.
As elected officials, who’ve taken an oath to serve and protect the Maine constitution, we are committed to protecting our democracy. As people who love this country, we believe in our government and believe in the U.S. Constitution. What happened today is completely unacceptable. Our prayers are for the safety of all the women and men in and around the U.S. Capitol and a swift resolution to this lawlessness.”
Maine Senate Minority Leader Jeff Timberlake and House Minority Leader Kathleen Dillingham (R):
“We support the rights of citizens to conduct peaceful protests, but condemn the destruction of property and violence in any form of protest. All protests that lead to these types of results are completely unacceptable.
Two years of violence and destruction under the cover of peaceful protests have left our nation outraged by this type of behavior. Clearly we must commit ourselves to following the rule of law and peacefully respecting those who disagree with us.”
Former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R):
“Today we witnessed with horror a destructive assault on our nation’s democracy. The best way to honor that democracy now is for Congressional leaders to continue to find the same common ground in the months ahead that they found tonight in condemning this unconscionable attack.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story mislabeled the party affiliation of Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau. They are Democrats.