Rep. Ken Buck On DC Insurrection: There’s ‘A Lot Of Blame To Go Around’

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Electoral College Protests
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Capitol police officers in riot gear push back demonstrators who try to break a door of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Voices from both parties have condemned the pro-Trump mob that streamed into and briefly occupied parts of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. While Rep. Ken Buck said it was inexcusable to interrupt the business of Congress, he stopped short of joining others in his party of laying full blame on President Donald Trump.

The current chair of the Colorado Republican Party called what happened “tyranny and anarchy,” something that the country doesn't stand for, but argued the president asked people to act peacefully in the video he released in response to the rioting.

“People can listen to two different people: one reasonable, one unreasonable can listen to the president's rhetoric and take completely different actions,” Buck said. “So yes, the president shares the blame in what happened in the United States Capitol, and yes, many others share that blame, including people on public radio who try to fire up the base and divide America.”

“I think that there is a lot of blame to go around, and we should all do our best to not mistake what occurred,” he told CPR's Colorado Matters.

Fellow congressional state delegation member, Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, was far more forceful in his determination of the president's role in the chaotic day.

The counting of the Electoral College votes was only delayed, not stopped. Both the Senate and the House re-convened and continued the process late into the night. The joint session picked up where it left off with the debate over an objection to Arizona's votes. Pennsylvania was also objected to. Other planned objections in other battleground states withered away.

Buck voted against the Arizona objection, and did not vote on the Pennsylvania objection.

Interview Highlights

On whether rioters will be held to account:

“I think there will be prosecutions … I think there will be more arrests in the future, and I think that individuals will be held responsible and they should be held responsible. There were police officers injured. There was destruction of property. I was on the House floor just feet away from windows being broken by people, trying to break onto the House floor.

When you look at what happened yesterday, we are a country that welcomes peaceful protests. As we did this summer when we had disagreements over efforts to defund the police or disagreements over … instances of police use of force … I think that when those protests went too far and involved burning buildings and destroying property, there were arrests made and people held accountable, and I believe the same has to be done in this city.”

Whether there was a double standard compared to the response to Black Lives Matter protests:

“To speculate on something stupid like that, that’s ridiculous. I know that the police do their very best to protect the Capitol, protect the members of Congress and not hurt people in the process. I have no idea what would have happened but try to … suggest that the Left is treated differently than the Right by Capitol Police, it’s just nonsense. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t order the police to step down because it’s a right-wing riot versus a left-wing riot.”

On the strength of Democratic institutions:

“I think our institutions are strong, and there’s not a single member of Congress that would stand up and allow President Trump to be sworn into office or remain in office beyond Jan. 20. I think everyone understands that Joe Biden won this election. I certainly was the only Republican in the Colorado delegation to acknowledge yesterday and vote against the objections that were being raised against the Electoral College.

But there is an orderly transfer of power now. President-elect Biden’s staff have been receiving briefings from the various agencies for weeks. I think people outside D.C. don’t recognize the transition that’s going on in D.C. Executive branch staffers, political appointees are leaving at this point and Democrat staffers are moving from the legislative branch to the executive branch.”

Editor's Note: This story was updated to add a clarifying quote from Rep. Buck on his position of the president's culpability.