We asked some of the Republican participants from our Jewish Political Voices Project about what recently transpired in Washington, DC and at the Capitol. We wanted to know how they felt about the rally that first took place claiming the election was stolen; what their thoughts were about what happened at the Capitol building and if those who participated should be held accountable; as well as their feelings on impeachment.
Bud Hockenberg (R-IA)—Voted for Donald Trump
ONE NATION FOR THE PEOPLE
Our constitution is based upon separate but equal branches—judiciary, legislative and executive.
The people’s house is the Congress.
There is no one person above the people.
The events of the past few weeks do not focus on the constitution but rather on individuals.
Our country is enduring and internal, not dependent upon one person.
It is critical that the Republican Party represents the people and the original interpretation of the constitution.
It is critical that there be an orderly transition of the Executive Branch regardless of feelings and loyalties about the election.
Our country must remain united and all disputes resolved through legal processes with judicial decisions.
Our country is not about one person—Biden or Trump.
Our country is a Judeo-Christian basic philosophy which guarantees individual freedoms. We must protect our free speech and free press freedoms against attacks from big tech suppression and woke cancel culture!
The 10th Amendment of the Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Executive and all its Branches and Agencies must be restricted and subject to the will of Congress and the people.
Our country has withstood crises historically and remained united.
The future will be safe and sane for the Judeo-Christian Republic of America—the United States and United People of America!
Ruth Kantrowitz (R-WI)—Voted for Donald Trump
People have a right to voice their opinions so the rally was perfectly acceptable to me. People have felt a number of recent elections were stolen so it was not surprising. As to what happened at the Capitol building, it was as appalling as the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots. Those involved should absolutely be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. If any of them had anything to say about the left-wing riots, they should bury their heads in the sand permanently. The impeachment is a pathetic waste of time and money and is simply Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s need for attention. She’s revolting.
I am saddened by the state of the country, the victim mentalities, the disrespect. While people may throw the blame on Donald Trump, the reality is that Trump only showed the true face of this country. They should be mad at Senator Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden and all the other lifetime useless politicians who are only interested in their own financial gain.
Mark Goldhaber (R-NC)—Voted for libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen
As a young lawyer, I practiced Federal Election Law for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Based on the lack of information presented and my previous experience, I think that the claims that the election was stolen are totally baseless. Consequently, I think there was no rationale for the rally.
There can be absolutely no equivocation on what happened at the Capitol; violence against the seat of our nation’s capital is wrong and outrageous, and people should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It’s important to note that the ill-preparedness of the Capitol Police and the entire security apparatus was a major enabler to the horrible events that happened at the Capitol, and there must be real accountability and change so that this kind of event cannot occur in the future.
I think that inciting and creating the environment for what subsequently happened at the Capitol is grounds for impeachment (unlike the politically-driven impeachment that happened in 2019). However, I think it would have been much more effective to censure the President for his actions because I believe that would have gotten much more broad-based support and could have been completed prior to the incoming Biden Administration. There are serious Constitutional questions surrounding whether an ex-President can even be impeached, and an impeachment trial will only further exacerbate divisions in a divided country.
I think the country must recommit to the importance of nonviolent protest, in contrast to the horrific event which occurred at the Capitol last week or the violence that went on for weeks in Seattle and the broad property damage that occurred as an element of legitimate protest after the death of George Floyd. As a country, we cannot accept property damage and violence as an acceptable element of legitimate protests.
Andrew Smith (R-OH)—Voted for Joe Biden
The rally that took place last week claiming the election was stolen was a bad idea, perpetuating a false narrative and undermining the credibility of our generally robust and secure, if a little imperfect, electoral process.
It was very disturbing to see the violence; hear the vicious words of some of the protesters; and learn about the offensive (and anti-Semitic) messaging seen at the Capitol. Like with any violent rioting, I hope the lawbreakers will be appropriately punished.
I have mixed feelings about the President being impeached. If Trump is convicted and can never again hold Federal office, that would be a blessing for the Republican party. That said, I am persuaded by some of the commentary (e.g. Jonathan Turley, Alan Dershowitz) that as irresponsible as Trump’s words have been, they are not a proper basis for impeachment, especially at this late stage. We also have better things to do with our public energies.
Glenn Hamer (R-AZ)—Voted for Donald Trump
President-elect Biden won the election fair and square. There were dozens of failed legal challenges. There simply was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the results of any of the contested states. For example, in Arizona the results were certified and audited and the legal challenges were basically laughed out of court. The campaign to overturn the election morphed into a massive fraudulent fundraising scheme.
What took place last week was a riot and not a rally. The riot culminated in one of the darkest episodes in our nation’s history, the desecration of the epicenter of democracy, the United States Capitol. It was shameful, and the most powerful person on the planet, the President, lit the fuse. As a former staffer of a US Senator and Congressman and the dad of a former US Senate Page, I am disgusted. The Capitol to me is the most inspirational place on earth. Our president should be upholding our democratic ideals, not ransacking it.
All those involved in criminal activity should be charged and the book should be thrown at them. An officer was killed and others were injured. Vandalism occurred at a scale we probably haven’t seen since the British invaded the Capitol in 1814.
January 20th cannot come soon enough. Trump should do what many former New Yorkers do: spend his time in Florida in permanent retirement. He is not fit to serve in any public office. In terms of impeachment, Trump has no one but himself to blame. If the Senate proceeds it should hold a trial so that the American people have a comprehensive understanding of what occurred on the day our democracy was assaulted with a full account of the President’s actions. After that process, senators should vote their conscience. On the other hand, whether to hold a trial should be balanced against President-elect Biden’s wish to bring the country together. A trial is likely to have the opposite effect.
It will be the job of the President-elect to bring dignity and honor back to the nation and to do his best to unite a badly divided country. I certainly want to do my part as an individual and as the head of a state chamber of commerce to help.
It’s also worth noting the thoughtful debate in the US Senate after it returned to the floor following the riots. This served as a bright moment for our democracy, when senators of both parties came together and overwhelmingly voted to certify the results of the election. The world’s greatest deliberative body earned its keep the evening of January 6th.
Sander Eizen (R-MI)—Voted for Joe Biden
Regarding the rally itself, it is essential that all Americans are provided the right to peacefully protest their government. However, I do think it is quite sad that so many Americans—whether they were at the rally or not—have been fed and have digested the lie that this election was stolen. Every single state legislature certified their elections results as free and fair. The fact that the President, his family, and his White House and Congressional allies knowingly continued to peddle this lie is disgusting to me.
As for the riot and insurrection at the Capitol, I hold the President and his allies directly accountable for the deaths and destruction that occurred on January 6th. The continued lies that the Vice President had the constitutional ability to throw out electoral votes and the narrative that people had to “fight like hell” to save their country led people to organize themselves against the Capitol and carry out this attack. Every single person involved in this attack should be brought to justice as soon as physically possible, including any and all members of the United States government. The President was rightly impeached—shoutout to the 10 Republicans that voted for impeachment—and I hope and think the Senate should convict him and/or bar him from holding future office. It is the only way the party can have a clean break and properly move on from this blemish in its history. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and all the GOPers who voted against democracy to nullify the results of Arizona and Pennsylvania should have no place in the party.
I voted for Joe Biden because I knew that Donald Trump did not respect the rule of law or our democracy. Without a well-functioning democracy, we cannot achieve any of our other goals to protect our environment, support Israel, and create an innovative and strong economy. Democracy comes first for me. I did not need any vindication for my vote for Biden, but the President’s behavior every single day after the election definitely solidified my convictions. The GOP has a lot of soul searching to do for the foreseeable future. We need to work to promote conservative solutions to some of the biggest problems we have today, like climate change, healthcare, and education, and replace the Trump voices in the party with people who will work to bring Americans together rather than tear them apart.