Jan. 6, in their own words: Members of Congress look back and forward

It is. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

During this impeachment process, when we saw how it all hooked up – in terms of the cards, the videos, and the footage, and saw it all happen all at once – it was shocking.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)

It’s been a tough day for me. It was the one year anniversary of my brother’s death [former Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)]. My entire family was gathered in my parents’ house. I was not there. And they text me while I sit on the floor and watch the process go and say, ‘Are you okay?’ I think, ‘You’re asking me if I’m okay with the one year mark.’ I didn’t know they were watching TV and the Capitol being stormed. No idea.

That was the case with many of us. We were pinged before we had a clue.

Representative Ann Kuster (DN. H.)

Rope. Ann Kuster was one of four lawmakers less than 15 meters from a group of rioters when they were evacuated from the gallery of the house: The whole story hasn’t come out on the side of the house. On the Senate side, we saw Mitt Romney’s video. … For me, that’s part of the story that I need to convey because I was part of it. Every second counted.

The front of the mob came towards us in this hallway. You could hear them. I didn’t see her because I was excited [with my gas mask].

A group of them had come up the stairs and down the hall. … Those eight and a half minutes when all of my colleagues are still pinned down in the closet calling their families to say goodbye.

I’m trying to convey how close this was in the house.

… trying to stay physically and emotionally safe a year later

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Link)

I am not going anywhere in Connecticut without police protection if I am doing my official duties. That was not the case until January 6th. The level of harassment against my family is bigger than it was. The job is different now. These people are not doing well and they come after us in very, very different, very personal ways.

Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.)

Rep. Rodney Davis was there when a gunman attacked a GOP Congressional Baseball Game baseball game in 2017: I’ve seen the vitriol before. I mean, I ran away from bullets with my friends on a baseball field a few years ago.

Rep Kelly Armstrong (RN.D.)

We must find a way to keep the home of the people safe. … I want everyone who is here to be safe. But I don’t want to use your safety as an excuse not to bring this place back to where people can see it. And there is a way to do both. “

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

I always felt safe entering the Capitol. The only times I haven’t felt safe were on September 11th and January 6th. I feel safe now, but I’ll always have that tiny little question mark on my mind.

coast, who is helped set up a support group for the dozen of Democrats who were at the gallery that day: We have this string of text. And sometimes the text is: ‘Who brings the wine?’ or tease [Rep.] Jason Crow (D-Colo.) About bringing cake. And then sometimes it’s: ‘It’s really difficult for me.’ “Here’s a book on trauma that might help you.”

It’s an incredibly powerful support system. I would say that we love each other at this point. We care about each other. And it’s not so much about us. The story is about this place that we love and that is so important to our country and our future.

… how the uprising affected relations between the parties

Tester: I think it would be really easy to say, ‘I’ll never work with these guys again.’ But ultimately, I’m here to get things done and try to move the ball forward.

Senator John Thune (RS.D.)

There seems to be more evidence of this, especially in the house [Jan. 6 affecting relationships].

Sexton: Fountain, [on Jan. 7], I got a Covid vaccine. The scene was surreal. It’s like something out of a movie. I sat in these seats with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and two Southern Republicans.

And the two of them sit there on Thursday morning bragging about how many busloads of trailers they brought to Washington as they would have paid for. Maybe their campaign funds. And they literally brag about sitting right next to me.

Representative Sean Casten (D-Ill.)

I’m not going to vote for a bill sponsored by people who voted to overturn the election results unless they admit their mistake. What so far consists of [Rep.] Tom Rice (RS.C.), and that’s it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say not to work with people, because good ideas come from all corners of the world.

Davis, one of the minority leaders Kevin McCarthys Original picks for the House Select Committee on January 6th: No one fails to work with the Democratic Committee Chairs who voted not to ratify the 2004 election of George W. Bush. I don’t see any urge not to work with [Rep.] Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) For considering whether or not to certify the 2017 results for President Trump in the House of Representatives.

Armstrong, another from McCarthy‘s original picks for the panel on January 6th: I think it thawed a lot in the base. I think for ideological reasons it doesn’t.

Fitzpatrick, Co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus: If we implode on each other, if we start to undermine our institutions, if we lose confidence in our institutions, then that is the end of democracy. And I think people don’t realize how fragile democracy is, how young it is, and how vulnerable it is to it.

Every time I see my colleagues attacking each other on the floor of the house, I don’t care which party they are from, I will tell them that you are making your opponents very happy right now. Pay attention to the weight of your words because they have consequences.

… how you see the violence now

Murray: We had to physically return to this Capitol that same night [to finish certifying the election]. And I thought that was a very important moment that said we weren’t going to let that happen. … I think what worries me is the fragility of this moment. At that moment everyone was standing together – or pretty much everyone but a few together. I hope none of us ever forget that.

Casting: I’m not angry anymore. I’m just trying to find out what you do when you’ve been given responsibility as a member of the United States Congress – and a significant group of your colleagues stepped down when someone tried to kill you.

Joyful. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

I think about it a lot. For me it’s a day like 9/11. It’s a day like the assassination of John Kennedy. You are too young to know this date, but that date is on my mind. Both events left a lasting mark on me. January 6th left a lasting mark on me.

Murkowski: I was scared. And then I got really angry. And now it is almost more of a feeling of disappointment to acknowledge that, for some, they have chosen to either sideline the events – simply forget them – or re-imagine the facts we are going through.

Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)

Rep Cheney, vice chairman of the House Select Committee on January 6th: Whether we tell the truth about it or not, whether we hold people accountable or not and make sure that something like this never happens again – it really is the moral issue of our time.

… on the way forward

Armstrong: I tried not to do it before, but I made a conscious effort to argue about ideas and not send the snappy tweet that you think will get lots of clicks – and you think you are happy – and then check back 48 hours later and you ask yourself, ‘Really, is it really worth it?’ … If you overdo something, you lose the argument. And both sides do. I wish we’d do less.

Tester: After the 6th it showed, in my opinion, that the institutions are solid and sustainable. … If the institutions cannot be screwed up by any person or group of people, that is very positive.

Tuna: If we look to the future, the more we go out and talk about ideas and principles and identify and relate the people where they are, the greater the chances that we will be an elected government majority for the future. And the more we dig into what happened in the past, the more people will find an upper limit.

Casting: It has doubled my commitment to public service in many ways. Because I keep thinking about Lincoln’s line that “there has always been just enough virtue in this nation to save it; sometimes none, but always just enough. ‘

Murkowski: I had to make a decision whether to compete again or not. And for a lot of different reasons … it would have been easier to say that I’m not going to run. But I chose the more difficult route I think. And I did this because I think this place is worth saving.

Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.)

We don’t choose the times we live in. You are here. We all make an individual decision about how we will live in these times.

Photos: Associated Press

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