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Rep. Ed Perlmutter: The Capitol attack, and the last four years, show us democracies are fragile

"As the hours unfolded, I became mad, sad and outraged the People’s House was desecrated and disrespected, and even worse, that people lost their lives."

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Wednesday was a turning point for our country. It was the result of a fever that has been building for weeks, months and years. 

As the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, I was stunned, numb to the idea something like this could happen. We expected protests and large crowds, but there was a certain shock that came with seeing and hearing the events unfold so full of anger, vitriol and lawlessness. After all, something like this hasn’t happened since the British invaded us in 1814. 

As the hours unfolded, I became mad, sad and outraged the People’s House was desecrated and disrespected, and even worse, that people lost their lives.

U.S. Rep Ed Perlmutter

It is clear the violence we saw this week was fomented by President Trump and his enablers. I have long supported removing President Trump from office.  He is clearly unfit to carry out his duties, has failed to uphold his oath of office, and has incited violence since before taking office. 

While the focus must remain on Jan. 20 and the beginning of the Biden-Harris administration, I am considering all constitutional options to remove Trump from office.  

The 25th Amendment is the most straightforward way to remove him from office immediately to ensure the peaceful transition of power to the new administration and turn the corner on this chaotic, unlawful and dangerous presidency. 

We also need to ensure Jan. 6 serves as a lesson. Enough is enough. 

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These last four years and the events of this week are important lessons for all of us that democracies are fragile. It takes hard work by the people to protect and preserve a democracy. 

Clearly, voters across the country are concerned about our democracy and our state of affairs. Last year, Americans mobilized like we’ve never seen before, standing up and speaking out through their votes and their activism. Every single state and 98% of the nations’ counties saw a higher turnout than in 2016, including in Colorado, which continues to be the gold standard for mail-in voting and voter participation. 

And that’s the first step. It is the people’s responsibility to keep our democracy alive, but we must never lose sight of the work it takes to safeguard such a democracy. 

To that end, I’m proud the House and Senate reconvened only hours after the Capitol was invaded by terrorists so we could complete the certification of the Electoral College votes. 

I’ve taken the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States as a member of Congress eight times now. This week I once again upheld this oath by opposing the illegal and unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

But I remain deeply disappointed and frustrated by those who continue to peddle lies and falsehoods and embolden Donald Trump and his followers. I also know Americans will hold these leaders accountable at the ballot box.   

The 2020 presidential election was decisive. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we saw a historic 158 million Americans vote. After 60 failed lawsuits and dozens of recounts, there is not one shred of evidence of major fraud in this election. Any argument to the contrary is unfounded, absurd and dangerous. 

These baseless attacks have also had real impacts on elections officials and workers in Colorado and across the country who have been threatened and intimidated. I want to thank the tens of thousands of Americans who did their duty and counted the votes, shepherding and overseeing one of the most fundamental and integral pillars of our democracy – free, fair and open elections.

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

Another hallmark of our nation is the peaceful transition of power as is enshrined in our Constitution. This transition is no exception. Jan. 20 and the start of the Biden-Harris administration is an opportunity to turn the page on this chaotic, unlawful and dangerous presidency. 

It is time to get back to the business of the people and of the country as we build a better future for all Americans.


Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada, has represented Colorado’s 7th Congressional District for 14 years and previously was a state senator.


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