It is one year to the day since the greatest attack against our nation’s Capitol in over 200 years. Many of us sat and watched in horror as violent insurrectionists attacked the hallowed chambers of our country’s seat of democracy, fearing for the safety of our fellow Americans and the very institution the rioters were seeking to overthrow.
Today, we have and will continue to see countless messages pouring out from elected officials across the country, but we cannot forget who instigated and encouraged the fear and anger that led to one of the darkest days in American democracy. Republican leaders, including Governor Kim Reynolds, Secretary Paul Pate, and several other legislators, followed the lead of a defeated, autocratic authoritarian who continues to push the Big Lie that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen.
Even after the Associated Press, and other members of our media, called the election a victory for Joe Biden, it took weeks for Republican members of Iowa’s Federal Delegation to publicly say he was President-Elect. Congresswoman Marionette Miller-Meeks waited until December 4th 2020, four weeks after the election to publicly acknowledge Biden as the winner. Congresswoman Ashley Hinson waited until December 14th to refer to Biden as President-Elect. Our Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst refused to say the words themselves, but acknowledged that the constitution made him President-Elect. Congressman Randy Feenstra went even further than his colleagues, with Feenstra refusing on December 18th to say Biden had won the election, and instead he would wait for January 6th.
We all know how this story ends. After months of perpetuating a distrust in one of the world’s greatest democracies, with some of the most secure elections in our nation’s history, violent far-right extremists formulated a plan to sabotage a legitimate election. Then, in an organized effort, a group of insurrectionists aided by US lawmakers descended upon the Capitol in a violent attack against the very values they claimed to be fighting for.
We can never allow this to happen again. We need to find strength in our shared values. Respect, integrity, community, and trust in our fellow Iowans and Americans to uphold these values with us. And when there is a Big Lie being pushed, it takes all of us to stand up and stop it.
I will never forget January 6th, and I support the House Committee tasked with uncovering all of the secrets that led to that terrible day.