WVIR, CJ PASCHALL
7th District Representative Abigail Spanberger uses three words to describe the insurrection on Capitol Hill on December 6: heartbreaking, astounding, and chaotic. Now, the second-term congresswoman is calling on the people who attacked the U.S. Capitol, and the people who incited them, to be held accountable – including her colleagues in the House and Senate.
Spanberger remembers vivid details about the tense moments preceding, and during, the evacuation of the House chamber.
“There were people praying and people comforting each other. Other people lying on the ground calling their family members. There were police officers frantically working to keep that door from busting open,” Spanberger recalls. She says that even as rioters tried to break down the doors to enter the hall, while members of Congress were still evacuating, she was in disbelief.
“Disbelief in what was happening, and desire to make sure that everyone around me was was staying calm so that we could react,” She explained. “It was just a chaotic and heartbreaking scene, quite frankly.”
Spanberger, a former CIA Officer, says she has always been acutely aware that the U.S. Capitol was a target for attacks. What shocked her, were the people doing the attacking.
“It never, never was a reality in my mind that those who would perpetrate a terrorist attack against the United States Capitol would be fellow Americans engaging in sedition and traitorous, treasonous attacks,” Spanberger said.
She says it’s not enough for the president to resign, be removed under the 25th Amendment, or even be impeached for a second time. Lawmakers who supported his calls of fraud, and incited the violence that followed, must also be held accountable.
“There should be consequences and accountability for any elected official who has either stood by, frankly, complicit, or especially those who have provoked and encourage insurrection and treasonous aggression that resulted in the death of multiple people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick,” Spanberger said.
It is unclear what form those consequences would take. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) has announced that she will introduce legislation to expel Representatives and Senators who cast votes objecting to the election results.