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MT senators, governor respond to D.C. violence

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PHOTO BY MICHAEL JUDKINS

Daines to certify Electoral College votes  

EBS STAFF

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include Rep. Matt Rosendale’s statement

After protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, halting the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Electoral College votes, Montana’s senators and governor issued statements condemning the violence. Sen. Steve Daines, who on Jan. 5 announced he would dispute electoral votes, reversed his position on the 2020 election saying that he would certify them.

Sen. Steve Daines

Daines first condemned the violence on Twitter at approximately 12:40 p.m. and followed with a longer statement at 5:30 p.m.

“Today is a sad day for our country,” Daines wrote. “The destruction and violence we saw at our Capitol today is an assault on our democracy, our Constitution and the rule of law, and must not be tolerated.

As Americans, we believe in the right to peaceful protest. We must rise above the violence. We must stand together. We will not let today’s violence deter Congress from certifying the election. We must restore confidence in our electoral process. We must, and we will, have a peaceful and orderly transition of power.”

Daines’ office released a second statement one hour later.

“As stated from the beginning, the Senator’s goal was to raise concerns for Americans who lack confidence in our elections, and to drive reforms to restore integrity, confidence and trust into our electoral process. It was never an attempt to overturn the election. Congress’s role to count the electoral vote was a platform to raise these priorities – that’s why he objected to Arizona. 

In light of the deplorable violence, and the assault on our constitution and law enforcement, the Senator believed it was best for our nation to move forward with as much unity as possible, and affirm the results. The Senator will continue fighting for election reform through all legal and peaceful means.” 

Sen. Jon Tester

Montana’s other senator, Democrat Jon Tester, never planned to oppose the certification. Around noon, Tester tweeted a statement about the Capitol siege.

“I join my Republican and Democratic colleagues in condemning this despicable and dangerous attack on our democracy.

The election is over—and the time for the baseless objections that do nothing but undermine our Constitution is over too. Now is the time for both sides to come together to solve the pressing problems facing our nation, not rip it apart.”

In an interview with NBC Montana’s Maritsa Georgiou, published by Georgiou on Twitter at 3:30 p.m., Tester said that the siege on the Capitol today makes the U.S. weaker, both domestically and in the eyes of foreign adversaries.

“What has happened is there are folks in elected position in both the legislative branch and the executive branch that enabled violence to enter the front doors of the U.S. Capitol, and I think moving forward folks need to be held accountable,” he told Georgiou.

Gov. Greg Gianforte

Montana’s recently inaugurated governor, Greg Gianforte, also tweeted a statement about an hour after Tester. “Violence has no place in our civil society, and I categorically condemn what’s happening in the U.S. Capitol.”

Gianforte, a former Montana congressman, was one of 100 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in early December 2020. 

Rep. Matt Rosendale

Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale, one of the newest members of Montana’s delegation, also released a statement after 7 p.m., condemning the siege of the Capitol but remaining firm in his opposition to the certification of the election.

“Today is an absolutely terrible day. I have always condemned and will continue to condemn political violence in all forms. It has no place in our country.

However, I will not be intimidated by mob violence from the left or the right. I will oppose certification of electors from certain disputed states. These votes today were always about preserving and protecting the integrity of our election process, not any candidate. I will continue to work to ensure our elections are free and secure and every legal vote is counted and every fraudulent vote is rejected. 

I want to thank law enforcement for their extraordinary bravery and dedication to their duty today.”

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