Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) has now put out an official statement and appeared on multiple Alabama radio shows to react to Wednesday’s events at the United States Capitol.
“As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I support the right to peacefully assemble. But what we witnessed on the Capitol grounds yesterday was far from a peaceful assembly, and the nation should have only one response to those activities. They must be strongly condemned,” Palmer said in a written statement released by his office on Thursday morning.
“The senseless actions of a few led to the unnecessary loss of life and multiple injuries,” he continued. “I commend the Capitol police for restoring peace and for their resolute and courageous efforts to protect the members of Congress and their staff, and everyone else who serves in the Capitol complex.”
Palmer is the fifth-highest ranking member of the House GOP, serving as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee for a second term.
“Violence and destruction are not the answer to our problems, no matter how frustrated we become,” his statement added. “We have a nation of laws, not a nation of anarchy. The activities yesterday distort what our nation represents, and those engaging in them prove they have no love for country or respect for the rule of law.”
The Central Alabama congressman concluded, “I pray that we have seen the end of this reckless violence and that those responsible will be held accountable.”
Palmer went into greater details in a Thursday interview on Talk 99.5’s “Matt Murphy Show.”
“I think it was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” he commented. “You know, I’ve seen a lot in my life that I didn’t think I’d see. And I saw some in the nation’s capital. It’s one of the most venerated and admired institutions in the history of the world. That’s why millions and millions of people want to come to this country — because they still see this as a land of opportunity, but they also still see it as a land of peace and security where you can make something of yourself. And that’s not what you saw yesterday.”
He recounted what it was like being in the House chamber as intruders breached the building and eventually tried to gain access to that very room.
Palmer continued to blast the rioters as “thugs,” lamenting that they had also harmed the congressional effort which Palmer supported to object to the electors from certain states.
“And, you know, I hold the president responsible for sending those people to the Capitol,” Palmer added. “That should not have happened.”
Host Matt Murphy then asked if President Donald Trump “was partially responsible” for the violence and criminal behavior that broke out at the Capitol after the president spoke to a large crowd of supporters on Wednesday.
“Yeah, he had a great — he had a moment for greatness yesterday. I thought his thing about telling the people that he loved them [while thanking them for their support] was a great opportunity for him to also tell them … to go home. I think instead he told them to go to the Capitol,” he responded.
Palmer described what happened next as “an explosive situation.”
“There were people that came there, I think, to incite something,” he advised.
“All of us have a responsibility for how we conduct ourselves and for what we say,” Palmer subsequently added. “And our words and actions have consequences — unintended or not. We have to take responsibility for what we say and what we do, particularly when you have the magnetism and charisma that President Trump does.”
“What happened yesterday was inexcusable. It was an assault on all of our liberty. We have to maintain the Constitution, we have to be a nation of laws, not men. Our founders were very concerned about that, and that’s why they set the government up like it is,” Palmer commented. “Like I’ve said, I worked as hard as I could to help the president, to get the majority back, but it didn’t work. And I am convinced that fraud took place (in the presidential election). … [W]e lost the battle (the election), but we’ve got to prepare for the war. And I don’t mean a physical, violent war. I’m talking about within the scope of the laws of the land within the Constitution. If we lose the Constitution, then we lose the country. You cannot have what happened yesterday.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn