Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks in 2019. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke on the floor as the Senate reconvened after a failed insurrection Wednesday. Here is what he said:

It is very, very difficult to put into words what has transpired today. I have never lived through or even imagined an experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol. President Franklin Roosevelt set aside December 7th, 1941, as a date that will live in “infamy.” Unfortunately, we can now add January 6th, 2021, to that very short list of dates in American history that will live, forever, in infamy.

This temple to democracy was desecrated. Its windows smashed, our offices vandalized. The world saw America’s elected officials hurriedly ushered out because they were in harm’s way. The House and Senate floors were places of shelter, until the evacuation was ordered, leaving rioters to stalk these hallowed halls. Lawmakers and our staffs, average citizens who love their country, serve it every day, feared for their lives. I understand that one woman was shot and tragically lost her life. We mourn her and feel for her friends and family.

These images were projected to the world. Foreign embassies cabled their home capitals to report the harrowing scenes at the very heart of American democracy. This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away — the final, terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States, and undoubtedly our worst.

I want to be very clear: those who performed these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters — no — these were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists. They do not represent America. They were a few thousand violent extremists who tried to take over the Capitol building and attack our democracy. They must and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law — hopefully by this administration, if not, certainly by the next. They should be provided no leniency.

I want to thank many of the Capitol Police and Secret Service and local police who kept us safe today, and worked to clear the Capitol and return it to its rightful owners and its rightful purpose.

I want to thank the leaders, Democratic and Republican, House and Senate. It was Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy and myself who came together and decided that these thugs would not succeed, that we would finish the work that our Constitution requires us to complete, in the very legislative chambers of the House and Senate that were desecrated but we know always belong to the people — and do again tonight.

Make no mistake, today’s events did not happen spontaneously.

The president who promoted conspiracy theories that motivated these thugs; the president who exhorted them to come to our nation’s capital, egged them on, the president who hardly ever discourages violence (and more often encourages it) — this president bears a great deal of the blame. This mob was, in good part, President Trump’s doing, incited by his words and his lies. This violence, in good part, his responsibility, his everlasting shame. Today’s events certainly, certainly, wouldn’t have happened without him.

Now, January 6th will go down as one of the darkest days in recent American history — a final warning to our nation about the consequences of a demagogic president, the people who enable him, the captive media that parrots his lies, and the people who follow him as he attempts to push America to the brink of ruin.

As we reconvene tonight, let us remember that, in the end, all this mob has really accomplished is to delay our work by a few hours. We will resume our responsibilities now and we will finish our task tonight. The House and Senate chambers will be restored good as new and ready for legislating, in short order. The counting of the electoral votes is our sacred duty. Democracy’s roots in this nation are deep. They’re strong, and will not be undone — ever — by a group of thugs. Democracy will triumph, as it has for centuries.

So to my fellow Americans who were shocked and appalled by the images on their televisions today, and who are worried about the future of this country: let me speak to you directly. The divisions in our country clearly run deep, but we are a resilient, forward-looking, and optimistic people. And, we will begin the hard work of repairing this nation tonight because here in America, we do hard things. In America, we always overcome our challenges.

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