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‘This is banana republic crap’: WI congressmen react to Capitol insurrection

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's congressional delegation universally condemned the violence Wednesday as Trump-supporting rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol and interrupted the certification of Electoral College results.

Two of the state's delegation, Sen. Ron Johnson (R - WI) and Rep. Tom Tiffany (R - Wausau), had said they would object to the certification of votes in several contested states. Neither President Trump, nor his supports, have been able to provide any verifiable evidence of the widespread voter fraud they have alleged since the November 2 election.

Johnson called for the rioters to leave the Capitol grounds as they stormed the building Wednesday afternoon; he posted two tweets denouncing the insurrection.

A spokesman for Johnson confirmed to 27 News the senator and his staff were safe Wednesday but did not respond to questions about whether Johnson would continue his objections to some of the electoral results.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Tiffany also confirmed the congressman was safe. In a statement, Tiffany also condemned the violent protest.

"Peaceful protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right and that right must be protected for all Americans, but violence and destruction is unacceptable," the statement read.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R - De Pere) said in a video posted to his Twitter account he had conversations in previous days with lawmakers who planned to object to the electoral results.

"The Vice President of the United States was just rushed off the floor of the House by the Secret Service," Gallagher said in the video. "This is banana republic crap that we're watching happen right now."

Gallagher said those objecting lawmakers knew their efforts would not change anything but were moving forward in search of political gain.

"'We know we're not gonna succeed so we're just gonna object, we're gonna have a debate, we're gonna voice people's concerns and then we won't actually overturn our entire system of representative government so nothing bad will happen, there will be no cost to this effort,'" Gallagher said, imitating the objectors. "This is the cost of this effort."

On the Democratic side, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D - WI), told 27 News in an interview prior to the Capitol's breach the efforts to void the election results were testing the country.

"Donald Trump insisted on pursuing conspiracy theories and false claims of fraud and that Republicans in the Senate, including Senator Johnson, stirred those up, rather than being true leaders and saying the facts are the facts, was a real stress test for our democracy," Baldwin said.

In his office early Wednesday evening, Rep. Mark Pocan (D - Madison), said he supported renewed efforts to impeach President Trump. Pocan said he believed the president's words since the election were the primary driver of Wednesday's violence.

Pocan added he wanted Congress to return to the floor as soon as the Capitol was cleared to resume the certification process.

"I think the worst thing we could do is not continue tonight," Pocan said. "I think we have to show, no matter what, we can rebound as a federal government, we can do the proper actions of approving our electors."

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A. J. Bayatpour

Capitol Bureau Chief

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