Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor Vol. 25 No. 01
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Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor
Article 2 of 12
January 08, 2021

Energy Secretary Calls for Healing After Pro-Trump Riot in D.C.

By ExchangeMonitor

On Thursday, a day after violent supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the United States Capitol, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette called for condemnation of politically motivated violence, urged civil discourse in politics, supported a peaceful transition to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden and promised to stay on as energy secretary until inauguration day.

Brouillette published his news and views on Twitter, the platform from which President Donald Trump was banned through Thursday morning after using the service to again claim election fraud, and to praise the rioters.

While some Republican lawmakers such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) held Trump, by name, responsible for Wednesday’s violence, Brouillette did not.

By the time Brouillette posted his statement on Thursday, Democrats in Congress had called for Trump’s removal from office, with some threatening to begin a second impeachment proceeding against the President. Alternatively, congressional Democrats said Trump’s cabinet, plus Vice President Mike Pence, could remove Trump from office and instill Pence as chief executive, using power given to them under the 25th amendment to the constitution. Brouillette is a member of the cabinet.

So is Elaine Chao, wife of Sen. Mitch McConell (R-Ky.), who media reported Thursday resigned as secretary of transportation, in part because of the unprecedented violence at the Capitol. McConnell, who also condemned the violence, is the Senate majority leader for a little while longer. He and his conference are headed into the minority, after Democrats clinched control of the Senate during Wednesday’s riot. 

The barrage of Trump supporters who mobbed the Capitol Wednesday disrupted Congress’ official, and ordinarily, ceremonial, tally of electoral votes from the Nov. 3 presidential election. Before the president’s supporters turned violent, Trump himself addressed some of them on the National Mall, repeating claims that he would have won the election, but for massive fraud. Trump’s claims of wide-scale fraud  have been rejected by multiple courts and state election boards.

On the Senate floor, shortly before he and other elected lawmakers were chased off of it by Trump supporters, McConnell said there was no evidence whatsoever of fraud on a scale as massive as Trump alleged. 

Trump had invited his supporters to descend on Washington Wednesday while Congress certified the election results. The President said it would be a “wild” time. Dozens of Trump’s supporters were arrested after the riot. One of them, a 35 year-old woman identified as Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed in the Capitol halls, media reported. 

After his supporters broke into Capitol Hill, Trump told them in a recorded video message, posted to and since deleted from Twitter, “we love you.”

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