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Idaho political leaders react to protests in DC
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Idaho political leaders react to protests in DC

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Idaho's four-member Congressional delegation

Idaho’s four-member all-GOP Congressional delegation, Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch, Rep. Mike Simpson and Rep. Russ Fulcher.

TWIN FALLS — After years of supporting President Donald Trump, Idaho’s Republican politicians went on the president’s favorite platform Wednesday to condemn the violence in Washington, D.C.

Congress met Wednesday to certify the results of the election, which President-elect Joe Biden won. Since November Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the election was riddled with voter fraud and stolen from him.

At a rally he held earlier in the day, Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol while Congress certified the results. Protestors then made their way into the building and interrupted lawmakers while they were in session.

At the Capitol, protestors clashed with law enforcement officers and the ensuing violence led to the destruction of federal property and the deaths of four people.

Idaho’s Congressional delegation was evacuated along with other House members and senators.

Sen. Jim Risch, who has spent the past four years saying he would not oppose Trump, tweeted one sentence: “This nonsense and violence needs to stop now.”

Sen. Mike Crapo also tweeted a short statement: “The violence we are seeing at the Capitol is wholly unacceptable. It must be stopped immediately and all perpetrators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. God bless the Capitol Police, National Guard and other law enforcement on the scene here and at other sites.”

Rep. Mike Simpson posted: “We have a constitutional right to peaceful protests but the clashes with police and destruction of property must stop now. We can disagree in a better way.”

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Rep. Russ Fulcher planned to be among the House members to object to the Electoral College results and has repeated the president’s baseless claims that the election was stolen. As the protestors spread through the Capitol he posted on Facebook: “I will always respect our citizens’ First Amendment rights — and the rule of law. The violence seen today, and this past summer, is unacceptable. It does not move us closer to solutions.”

Idaho’s other delegates did not indicate before Wednesday how they planned to act on the issue.

While many states reported significant protests during the riots in Washington, Idaho remained relatively quiet.

A couple of protestors gathered in Twin Falls City Park early Wednesday evening waving Trump flags.

More than 200 people gathered on the steps of the Idaho Capitol chanting “stop the steal,” the Idaho Statesman reported. State Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston, spoke to the crowd and repeated the baseless claim that the election was stolen from the president.

Hundreds of Trump supporters also gathered outside the Coeur d’Alene offices of Risch and Crapo on Wednesday, the Coeur d’Alene Press said.

Gov. Brad Little, who has previously said he supported Trump and would vote for him, joined in condemning the riots.

“The violence at the U.S. Capitol is inexcusable and must stop. In Idaho, we uphold the tenets of the First Amendment, but what we are seeing in D.C. is not peaceful expression. Idahoans stand up for law enforcement and respect the rule of law,” Little tweeted. “I am praying for safety of those at the U.S. Capitol and for order to be restored immediately.”

Van Beechler, chairwoman of the Idaho Democratic Party, also issued a statement calling out Idaho Republican leaders for refusing to push back

“Because our Republican leaders in Washington have encouraged and refused to stand up to President Trump’s deliberate attack on the Constitution and the legitimacy of our elections, they are responsible for the unrest that is occurring,” Beechler said in the written statement. “Congressman Russ Fulcher, Congressman Mike Simpson, Senator Jim Risch and Senator Mike Crapo all share responsibility for today’s events, along with every Republican official who chose to prioritize political power over preserving our democracy.”

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