Local and state officials publicly issued their statements and thoughts regarding the riot that saw the United States capitol overrun with supporters of President Donald J. Trump. The January 6, 2021, riot has claimed the lives of six people, including two Capitol Police officers.
Two West Virginia State Senators were among the first to denounce the attack, Sens. Stephen Baldwin and Jack David Woodrum — Democrat and Republican, respectively, both representing Hinton and Summers County.
Sen. Baldwin released a statement on behalf of the Senate Minority Caucus:
“Today, our children must know that this is not how democracy works. Democracy is determined by ballots, not bullets. Democracy rests on the peaceful transfer of power because of free and fair elections. We do not inflict violence on those with whom we disagree. We condemn today’s attack on democracy because this is a nation of laws, order, and decency. All of those who participated in today’s attack on the capitol, especially those who unlawfully entered the building and perpetrated acts of violence, should be prosecuted fully by the law that undergirds our democracy. We understand that an incoming delegate, Derrick Evans, videoed himself participating in such acts. There is no place for him in the WV Legislature.”
By the end of the weekend newly-elected state Delegate Derrick Evans, facing federal charges for entering the U.S. Capitol with the mob, turned in a one-sentence official resignation letter to the governor resigning from West Virginia’s House of Delegates before he even took his seat. The state legislature convenes in February.
West Virginia State Sen. Jack David Woodrum shared a statement on his Facebook page stating, “this behavior by a group of malcontents at our Nation’s Capital is completely unacceptable. The total disrespect for our institutions of government cannot be tolerated. The behavior demonstrated by these people is in no way different than the extreme left’s behavior. The criminals that stormed our Nation’s Capital in no way represent the Republican Party in the United States of America of which I am a proud member. As conservatives Americans’ we must hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
Sen. Stephen Baldwin said, “When our state was born, it took tremendous strength to carve West Virginia out of a divided nation. We are divided again today. It will take all our better angels to heal us. We pledge to do our part in the halls of the West Virginia Capitol, and we call on all citizens to do their part. Check on your neighbors, help someone in need, engage with those who are different from you. That is how we will summon the strength needed to right this country again. By loving our neighbors throughout these majestic and grand hills of West Virginia.”
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito — Democrat and Republican— were also quick to condemn the actions of the rioters, both pointing to Pres. Donald Trump for inciting the riot. U.S. Rep. Carol Miller did not speak out against the attack. Miller remained among a significant number of representatives in the House challenging the confirmation of President-Elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
In a statement on Twitter, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said of the riots, “The violence that we are witnessing right now in Washington, D.C. is absolutely unacceptable and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. People have every right to have their voices heard peacefully. But there is no place in our country for this type of activity.”