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Top Pa. Senate Republican on Capitol mob: ‘What is going on in DC should never happen’

Cynthia Fernandez of Spotlight PA
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

HARRISBURG — State lawmakers in Pennsylvania denounced violence in Washington on Wednesday after a mob of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol to impede the official count of Electoral College votes.

And, in a statement, nine Republican state lawmakers representing York County said the storming of the U.S. Capitol "turned our stomachs."

Sen. Jake Corman, the top Republican in the chamber, said in a tweet, “What is going on in DC should never happen.”

“It cannot be said often enough – we are a nation of laws. This is not our America,” he said. “Violence is not the American way. When our rules and laws are not followed, chaos takes over."

Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, responded to Wednesday’s events in a tweet that began, “Sheer size of the crowd in DC is emblematic of how divided we are.”

“We can disagree [without] violence,” she continued. “Violence wasn’t ok when groups were destroying property last summer: it’s not ok now. We are a country of laws and without laws, we are doomed.”

Several Republican lawmakers in York County have vigorously supported Trump's bid to overturn the election. On Monday, state Sen. Kris Phillips-Hill, of York Township, signed a letter calling on Congress to refuse to certify Biden's electors.

And Reps. Seth Grove, of Dover Township, and Dawn Keefer, of Franklin Township, have publicly echoed Trump's conspiracies about the Nov. 3 election in Pennsylvania. 

“The storming of the U.S. Capitol by protesters has absolutely turned our stomachs and just as we condemned the multiple violent protests over the summer, these actions cannot be tolerated. It cannot be tolerated and those involved must be swiftly brought to justice," reads the statement signed by nine local lawmakers, including Phillips-Hill, Grove and Keefer

Republican leadership in the state House, Speaker Bryan Cutler and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, said in a statement that “Any act of violence or destruction is a crime and should be treated as such.”

“Peaceful transitions of power are something our country has responsibly proceeded with since our founding and should serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world,” the lawmakers said. “An objection to the electoral process is within the rights of members of Congress and has been exercised by members from both sides of the aisle at different times in our nation’s history.

More:Perry condemns protesters who breached Capitol, calling the scene 'chaos'

“However, that process leads to debate and dialogue, not violence and mayhem. We strongly condemn any act of violence and destruction and pray for all those impacted today.”

State Democrats called on Republican leadership in the Pennsylvania House and Senate “to immediately and unequivocally denounce this violence and support the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power.”

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said on Twitter, “What’s happening right now in Washington DC is not a lawful protest. It is a violent takeover attempt of our entire government — urged on by President Donald Trump.”

Spokespeople for House Republican leadership did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dispatch staff contributed to this report. 

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