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Locals react to Capitol attack

U.S. Rep. Delgado calls for Trump’s impeachment

HARLEM VALLEY — U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19) is among the lawmakers in Washington, D.C., calling for President Trump’s impeachment following the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol. A mob of pro-Trump supporters left a Stop-the-Steal rally protesting Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote count taking place that day and further promoting the disproven theory of election fraud — encouraged by the president’s own words: “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” the president told the crowd of thousands at his Save America Rally. “We are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… and we are going to the Capitol… ” 

Those protesters did go to the Capitol, as shown in news footage from all networks, and smashed windows, broke into private offices and left a trail of destruction along their way, vandalizing Statuary Hall and other hallowed parts of the Capitol Building.

Delgado blames Trump for last week’s violence and said he needs to be ousted from office immediately, despite how little time is left in his term.

“The President’s actions and words during a moment of great peril for our democracy make it plain that he is unfit for the Office of the President,” stated Delgado in a Jan. 7 press release. “I took an oath to protect our democracy against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And with a heavy heart, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to protect our democracy, President Trump must be removed from office by his own cabinet or this Congress.”

Local reaction

Pine Plains town Supervisor Darrah Cloud said had the mob not been white, the outcome would have been vastly different.

“I am appalled by the obvious fact that had the insurgents been people of color, they’d have been shot right away,” she said. “That these people were mainly white is what saved them. But the police suffered regardless of their color, didn’t they? One [officer] has died. That is shameful. I can’t bear the thought of any one of my own police force being hurt or killed in the line of duty.”

Cloud, a Democrat, added that the president is himself is to blame for the lives lost and the chaos at the Capitol.

“I am deeply saddened by what happened. Words have power… and the president of the United States used his power to instigate a mob insurgency,” she said in disbelief. “The election was counted well and fairly, perhaps the safest/fairest election count in history due to automation and the scrutiny of it… The president has promoted the idea that the election was fraudulent and it is simply not true.”

Amenia town Supervisor Victoria Perotti is a loyal member of the Republican Party who said she was dismayed at what she witnessed last week.

“Violence is never the answer. I was shocked and amazed at what happened, at the lack of security,” she said. “It’s so sad there were fatalities and injuries. I’m still kind of in shock over the whole thing.”

When asked if she thought the November elections were fair, Perotti hesitated.

“I really have no idea,” she said. “I know there are issues and have been issues with many elections, and I think the elections need to be looked at — at what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be better. The unfortunate thing is, there was an historic vote, and there are a lot of voters out there that feel disenfranchised for one reason or another. I think all the voting mechanisms need to be looked at to make people feel that their vote really counts.”

When asked if she thinks the voting process is secure in northeastern Dutchess County, Perotti responded immediately. 

“Yes,” she said without hesitation.

Her counterpart, North East town Supervisor Chris Kennan, a Democrat, had this to say:

“Like many of us, I am still trying to get my head around the events in Washington.  The mob invasion of the Capitol Building was something I could never have imagined happening,” he said, adding he worked on Capitol Hill as an intern when he was 19. “What happened on Wednesday was shameful. It was embarrassing to our country, as was the puzzling lack of preparation for an event that had been widely publicized and encouraged by the president and his allies.”

Kennan blames social media for allowing people to “express thoughts and opinions that they might never express in person, face to face, or even in a newspaper. It enables people to propagate lies, conspiracy theories and hate speech, with little to no accountability.”

He added he’s “grateful to live and work in a community where there is less of this. As a local official, it’s my job to speak as truthfully as I know how… and to encourage open discussion and debate… people, for the most part, have been able to disagree without hatred or name calling.”

Chair of the Dutchess County Legislature A. Gregg Pulver (R-19), a Pine Plains native and longtime public servant, has hopes the president-elect will be able to unite the country — even though he himself is a Republican and Biden is a Democrat. 

“This is a great country. I love it, and I have great hopes that President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris can quell the flames. That’s really what I want them to do,” said Pulver. “That was the most disappointing thing from President Trump: the name calling, the bullying, whatever you want to call it. The thing we need, is we need to heal.” 

“I would fully support invoking the 25th Amendment and having his leadership turned over to Vice President Pence until the coming administration,” said Alec Pandaleon, who both lives and works in Millbrook; he owns Putnam Insurance Brokerage. He also happens to be a 35-year reservist of the U.S. Marines and New York State Defense Service and New York Naval Militia Seagoing National Guard Group. Pandaleon was a registered Republican for years, but left the party a few years ago and is now unaffiliated. “This guy, I gave him a lot of latitude, but he has crossed the line so much. And to see those pictures of the Capitol protective service barricaded on the floor with their pistols drawn, for me that harkens back to the Puerto Rican nationalists trying to storm the Blair House trying to kill President Truman back in 1950. There are serious repercussions to such acts.

“Shame on the Capitol Police for not being prepared; they were woefully unprepared,” he added. “I find that troubling. Having been in government for 36 years, you plan a contingency, and then have a contingency to your contingency in the military. 

“It’s been a long time since we have had someone who exercises statesmanship — that’s what we need,” Pandaleon added. “Even at the local level you see some togetherness. Here’s to hoping 2021 is better than 2020.”

Pursuing impeachment

On Monday, Jan. 11, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives released a resolution to impeach Trump, charging him with one article of incitement of insurrection. It is the second time Congress has pursued impeaching the president, a first in American history. 

Some lawmakers, as covered by national news, are calling for Trump to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment, which in simple terms states that if the president becomes unable to do his job, the vice president shall step in and take over as president. For that to happen, Vice President Mike Pence and “the majority of the cabinet would have to bring the allegation against the president,” according to The Poynter Institute.

CNN and other media outlets have reported that pipe bombs were found on Capitol Hill, some protesters were armed with weapons, zip ties, carried the Confederate flag and wore clothing endorsing the Nazis, white supremacy, QAnon and other symbols promoting violence.

 

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