Dutchess, Putnam executives condemn mayhem
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, whose U.S. House district includes the Highlands, was among its members evacuated to an undisclosed, secure location on Wednesday (Jan. 6) when protesters stormed the Capitol.
Maloney, a Democrat elected in November to his fifth term, was on the House floor for congressional certification of the presidential election results when supporters of President Donald Trump breached security, bypassed metal detectors and entered the building. Aaron White, a spokesperson for the congressman, said Wednesday night that he and other members of Maloney’s staff were also safe.
Protesters broke the glass in doors leading into the chamber, near where Maloney was sitting, and police deployed tear gas in the rotunda of the Capitol. After police cleared the building, members of the House and Senate returned and completed the certification of the vote for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris early on Thursday morning.
Maloney, who lives with his family in Philipstown, posted Wednesday on Twitter: “Today is a sad and infuriating day. We thank the Capitol Police and the staff, many of whom were in real danger. I was on the House floor when protesters attempted to enter. We evacuated and are safe. The president and his enablers have incited this violence. It must stop.”
Maloney later shared a 20-second video taken from his seat as members in the chamber were told they could find gas masks under their seats. “Scenes of madness today on the House floor,” he wrote. “We must reject and rise above the lies and madness that incites this violence. God bless America. Stand up for it.”
Also on Wednesday, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican, said in a statement that “this mayhem must stop, and it must stop now. America doesn’t resort to chaos or violence, and we don’t encourage or invite it. Every leader, in every office, from every corner of this country must call for this to end and disperse immediately.
“The events unfolding at the U.S. Capitol this afternoon do not represent who we are as an American people. While we would never suppress vigorous debate and the right to protest — our country, after all, was founded on the right of its citizens to voice their opinions — the violence witnessed today is wrong and unacceptable, and it must come to an end.”
On Thursday, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, also a Republican, added: “We have much work to do to keep this country the shining example of democracy that it has always been. The world is watching. Americans have the right to protest, but not to break the law while doing so. For the future of our children, I would hope we could put our country first, despite any differences.”