Capitol riot not ‘legitimate political speech’, Maine Republicans say

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The two leading candidates in the Republican congressional primary in Maine’s 2nd District had strong words this week for protesters who stormed the US Capitol more than a year ago.

A mob assaults police officers on January 6, 2021 at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC FBI Investigative Photo

Although the Republican National Committee said in a formal resolution last Friday that the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol was “legitimate political speech,” neither former U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin of Orrington nor the city’s leader of Caratunk, Liz Caruso, disagreed.

Poliquin said the protest “turned into a riot” by some and “those who damaged our US Capitol should be held accountable.”

“Violence and destruction of property should never be tolerated in any federal or private building,” Caruso said.

The other candidate for the June 14 primary, Garret Swazey of Bangor, did not respond to requests for comment.

The winner of the primary would have the chance to face two-term U.S. Representative Jared Golden, a Democrat from Lewiston who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for what Democrats said was his role in instigating the the assault on the Capitol.

Golden called the results of the election that put Biden in power “free and fair” and “fully legitimate.” He denounced Trump for lying about the vote, encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol, and failing to restrain them as they stormed the building.

The GOP approved a resolution castigating U.S. Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both Republicans, for participating in a House investigation into the assault on the Capitol. He said the two men were participating in a “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse”.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Maine’s top Republican-elect, pushed back this week, insisting that “those who assaulted police officers, smashed windows and drilled into the Capitol were not engaged in legitimate political discourse, and to say otherwise is absurd.

The lone independent in the congressional race, Tiffany Bond of Portland, who placed third in the 2018 race that saw Golden upset Poliquin to take the seat, said Tuesday that “bringing into the U.S. Capitol and causing significant property damage is not a legitimate policy. speech.”

She added that instead of targeting Cheney and Kinzinger, “it’s a party’s burden to ostracize one of its members who rejects our democratic principles.”

Poliquin, a former two-term congressman from the district, said the Jan. 6 protest “for some participants turned into a riot.”

“Peaceful protests are the cornerstone of our democracy. Violence is not the answer,” he said.

Poliquin and Caruso also called for a crackdown on those in cities across the country who engaged in destructive behavior during protests after police killings of black Americans.

“Those who caused millions of dollars in damage to other federal buildings and killed a federal law enforcement officer during the spring and summer 2020 protests” should also be held accountable, Poliquin said. .

Caruso said that while “the majority of people who gathered at the National Mall” on Jan. 6 “were peaceful, patriotic citizens,” she compared those who stormed the Capitol to the “rioters of 2020 and looters of current stores”.

When asked if Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Bond simply replied that Biden won. Poliquin and Caruso, however, answered with less than a firm yes.

“Under the current extremely flawed election process that has fewer security measures than it takes to check out a book from the library, Biden won the election,” Caruso said.

Poliquin simply pointed out that Trump won Maine’s 2nd congressional district in 2016 and 2020. “Unfortunately, Joe Biden is now the president,” he added.

Caruso said “allegations of fraud are currently being investigated” in Biden’s victory, although there is no evidence of fraud that came close to changing the outcome of the race. Every court case alleging fraud has failed and every recount has confirmed the outcome.

Even so, Caruso promised that “when I am in Congress, I will take steps to investigate allegations of fraud and put in place security measures that will make our elections not only more robust, but also a system that all Americans can be trusted”.

“The bedrock of our constitutional republic is anchored on the absolute integrity of elections, both for 2020 and the future,” she said. “Anything less undermines the most sacred privilege of American citizens.”


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