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After Siege On Capitol Hill, Rep. Horsford Calls For Pres. Trump Impeachment

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.

It was stunning by any standards.

While Congress was working to certify results from the November election, a crowd of pro-President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building, pushing past Capitol Police and into the halls of Congress.

One woman was shot and killed. Three other people died from medical emergencies. Several police officers were also hurt. Rioters walked the halls, one sat at Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk, and another shouted from the Senate dais that Trump had won the election. 

All this why lawmakers and staff scrambled to safety.

Nevada's congressional delegation have all spoken out about the insurrection on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV., called the violence “absolutely unacceptable." Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV., said that history was being made for all the wrong reasons and that the events were “shameful.” 

Rep. Steven Horsford, D-NV., went a step further. He's called for President Donald Trump to be impeached and for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove the president from office.

During an interview with KNPR's State of Nevada Thursday, an emotional Horsford explained the events of the day. He said he knew it was going to be a tough day from the start but he had no idea how difficult. 

 “I went into the day knowing it was going to be a very difficult day," he said, "It was going to be a long day. It was going to be an emotional day. It would be a frustrating day because there was an attempt by 13 United State Senate Republicans and 140 House Republicans to challenge the results.”

Horsford said that he and other delegation members were prepared to answer the expected challenges to Nevada's election results. He had prepared a floor speech to defend the state's results.

He and his staff were in his offices inside the Cannon Office Building when they were told to evacuate. A few minutes after evacuating, they were told they could return. 

Only to be removed again, within a few minutes, because the building had been breached by pro-Trump extremists.

“I was very frustrated. I was angry and I was frightened for myself, my staff, concerned about my family," he said, "This is the first attack on the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812.”

Horsford pointed out that the people who got into the building went into areas that he's even restricted from going to as a member of Congress.

He also said there will be congressional investigations into what happened.  

A lot of people have contrasted the events of Wednesday with the protests for racial justice over the summer. 

Horsford does not call the people involved in Wednesday's insurrection protesters. He said he believes in peaceful protests and people's ability to express displeasure with their government under the First Amendment.

“What happened yesterday, these were insurrectionists, who were incited by President Donald Trump and Republicans in the Senate and the House," he said, "Those aren't peaceful protesters, who are trying to petition their leaders in a responsible or peaceful manner.”

The congressman believes they should be called out for who they are. He also lays the blame at the feet of President Trump, saying the president "committed sedition" against the federal government.

Horsford would like to see Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of the cabinet envoke the 25th Amendment, but he doesn't think it is likely given their track record of supporting the president.

He also pointed out that several of the administration staff have already left. Thursday morning, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced she was leaving her post because of insurrection.

Horsford said no one wants to be part of the administration now, but the president still has "awesome" powers that he can wield, “and over the next 13 days can continue to cause a lot of harm to people and further harm to our democracy and so for that reason is why I called for the impeachment and the removal."

Since he can't use the 25th Amendment to have the president removed from office, Horsford is doing what he can as a congressman to call for impeachment.

Despite the chaos of Wednesday afternoon, both chambers came together and voted to certify the election results, making Joe Biden the next president of the United States and Kamala Harris the next vice president.

Horsford said Congress was doing its duty under the Constitution for all Americans, including those who voted for President Trump. 

“If they wanted to object, there was a manner in which they could do that peacefully, but instead Donald Trump from his perch at the White House used his position to incite domestic terrorists in an act of sedition against our government. That is what happened,” he said.

Horsford underscored just how serious the riot was and just how more damaging it could have been if more police and the national guard hadn't been called in.

The fallout from the riot is yet to be seen, but some people view it as an opening to repair some of the deep division in the country.

With his voice shaking from emotion, the congressman explained that he is willing to work with anyone who is devoted to improving the lives of Americans, which is why he entered public service.

“I’m not in public service to have people attack me in my role as an elected official when doing my job or to have my staff or my family worry about my safety because of the responsibility of doing my job,” he said.

He is also frustrated that Congress now has to deal with the riot and its aftermath, instead of focusing on helping people still struggling because of the pandemic and the economic fallout. 

Horsford said his focus will be on the American people.

“I will work with anyone on the other side aisle in the House or the Senate and the administration to make sure my constituents get the government that they deserve," he said, "They did not deserve what happened yesterday. None of us did.”

Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nevada 

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.