By Tom Travis
“This was not a sort of national version of a march on City Hall. This was clearly a well planned attack on the United States of America and sadly led by and encouraged by the President of The United States,” U.S. Representative Dan Kildee said Monday morning in a press conference in the lobby of the Ferris Wheel building in downtown Flint.
“I’ve never been so angry in my life”
“I’ve never been so angry, never been so angry in my life. We need to channel all the anger to hold the president and the people that made this happen accountable, who accommodated it, violators and supported it and now pretend they had no part of it,” Kildee said, summarizing his reaction to the frightening events at the Capitol last Wednesday.
Kildee described harrowing moments as he, his Congressional colleagues and staff were under siege by Trump supporters. He said he and other members of Congress were “left behind” as they sat in the second floor gallery of the House Chamber.
“We were in really serious danger. I was up there in order to provide some social distancing on the House floor. It was going to be a few hours before it was my turn to offer defense for the Michigan electoral votes. So we went up to the gallery. There were a couple dozen members of Congress in the gallery,” Kildee added.
Kildee explained he was up in the gallery of the House Chamber meeting with other representatives and preparing the Michigan delegation to defend the state’s electoral ballots. He said Georgia and then Arizona delegations were at the podium defending their electoral votes at the time of the riot. “We were at real risk because we had this mob trying to come in everywhere.”
Kildee said he was sitting next to Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat representing the 11th district of New Jersey and a former Navy pilot, in the gallery when the rioters began banging on the doors.
“Let’s just say that it was good to have someone who had gone through some battles with me. We were in a position where we had the mob trying to come in from different positions: the Speaker’s Lobby which is directly behind the wall where Speaker Pelosi sits and the President’s Door–which is the center door on the main floor where the President enters when they arrive to make the State of the Union address.
“We didn’t know at the time but it wasn’t just a few people trying to get in but it was hundreds of people, including some militia members that were very well equipped to do some real harm
Kildee explained that when one of the protestors was shot near the Speaker’s Lobby, behind the wall of the Speaker’s seat, tactical force units moved in and secured the lobby, giving a short amount of time for the Capitol Police to evacuate Kildee and others in the gallery.
Kildee said they escaped “through a tunnel. And for reasons you know I can’t describe to you all the ways that we got out,” he added.
Kildee came back to Michigan Thursday. He said he will go back to Washington to prepare for a mid-week vote on the article of impeachment.
“The more we’ve learned about the attack the more frightening it has become.” – Kildee
“I want to express my gratitude to all those that reached out in concern for myself and my staff, thank you for that. The tough thing about this is that the more we’ve learned about the attack, the more frightening it has become. This was not a sort of national version of a march on city hall. This was clearly a well planned attack on the United States of America and sadly lead by and encouraged by the President of the United States.
“Five people are dead including a Capitol Police officer that I would see every day. He was beat to death with a fire extinguisher,” Kildee said.
“It’s very clear now that absent a little bit of good luck and some heroic deeds by Capitol Police officers the intent was to be much more fatal than what it was. Members of Congress, staff, media would have been killed. It’s tragic in so many ways.”
“Our focus now is that Justice is brought to those people who did this.” – Kildee
“We need to track down and capture and prosecute these people who have done this terrible thing–people who had everything they need to kidnap. Their intent was to try us for treason and then impose a sentence they intended to impose. They were going after Vice President Pence. This wasn’t just an out of control demonstration. They were bringing a scaffold and a noose to a march on the Capitol,” Kildee said.
Kildee described “other ways of accountability and that’s why I will return to Washington tomorrow. Donald Trump bears the greatest amount of responsibility for what took place. He is a deranged, unhinged and dangerous person.”
Kildee calls for President Trump to resign
“The decent thing for him [President Trump] to do is to resign immediately and I call on him to do that. I also call on my Republican colleagues, some Republicans, because many of my Republican colleagues stood very tall in this last week and standing up to this president. And not going along with the big lie that this entire insurrection is based on.
“It’s a big lie. It’s a falsehood that this was a stolen election. It is preposterous. But many of my Republican colleagues joined the Democrats in preserving the sanctity of our electoral process, in the selection of our president.
“History will treat them well. But there are those who are suddenly trying to extradite themselves from this situation that they contributed to by contending to go along with this big lie because they felt it would benefit them in the short term politically all the time” he said.
Kildee recalled that during President Nixon’s last days in office that Republicans went to him and told him to resign. Kildee calls on Republicans to do the same to President Trump–telling him he needs to resign, and to remove him from the authority of the presidency. “I call on Vice President Pence to take this step,” Kildee said.
Kildee calls on Pence and other Republican leaders to urge Trump to resign
“Mike Pence is a good example of how President Trump uses the world. He’s a sociopath. He used Mike Pence for as long as he could and then when Mike Pence was no longer willing to be subservient to him and being a sycophant to really violate the Constitution, he threw Mike Pence under the bus,” Kildee said.
“And he has not said a word to or about the person that mob was intending to capture and kill. Not a word from the vice president. I hope that’s a moment of awaking for Mr. Pence–who I have many disagreements with but I believe has a basic element of decency somewhere within his soul.”
“If we want reconciliation in this country, reconciliation is inseparable from truth” – Kildee
If we want reconciliation in this country, reconciliation is inseparable from truth. I have a very difficult time looking at some of my colleagues in the face since this happened. I will never look at them the same because they have been adding fuel to this fire for the past months and years. They have politically ruined themselves from the heat of that fire.”
On January 6, after the insurrection and mob attack, the members of Congress returned to the sacred halls of democracy to fulfill their constitutional duty of certifying the votes of the electoral college for the next president of the United States.
Kildee added that it took about four and a half hours for the Capitol building to be swept by security so that Congress could return to the building to certify the votes.
A Wednesday vote is scheduled in the U.S. House of Representatives on the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, seven days before President-Elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the 46th President.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.