LIHU‘E — Hawai‘i elected officials and lawmakers watched on with the world yesterday as hundreds descended on the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday, some inside the walls of Congress.
Gov. David Ige called the protests to undermine the presidential election “an assault on democracy and everything this country stands for.” Ige held a virtual press conference around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, suggesting blame on President Donald Trump for inciting violence in Washington, D.C. that left at least four people dead.
“I do believe he is responsible,” Ige said.
Ige also reaffirmed election results.
“The vote certification process and peaceful transition of power must be completed as required by the United States Constitution, following a free and fair election,” he said. “It is time for us to move on.”
Hawai‘i’s four congressional delegates indicated their safety and thoughts after the Capitol Building went into lockdown.
“The attack on the Capitol and our democracy is despicable, but it will not stop us from completing our constitutional duties and affirming the results of the presidential election,” Sen. Brian Schatz said.
Island-side, state Senate President Ron Kouchi called the events alarming.
“Every citizen has a fundamental right to peacefully gather and protest, but the violent breach of our nation’s capital is inexcusable,” Kouchi said.
The Hawai‘i State Capitol had its own set of demonstrators, Kouchi said, and state sheriffs were in contact with local law enforcement to allow those to exercise their rights to assemble.
In a three-Tweet statement, Rep. Ed Case assured the safety of him and his staff, “but democracy is not,” he wrote.
“What a truly dark moment for our country, born of disrespect for our very foundations and institutions and incited by the highest levels of our leadership.”
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono thanked citizens’ concerns while calling on Trump to recall his supporters.
“I implore the president to tell his supporters to stand down for everyone’s safety and let Congress do our job today,” Hirono tweeted.
Rep. Kai Kahele, who was sworn in on Sunday, said he was lost for words Wednesday.
“Words escape me,” Kahele wrote. “We’ve had an incredible few days in the nation’s capital. Now this — extremists attacking & desecrating our revered Capitol. Tonight I feel her pain, but I am strengthened by her unwavering resolve. I swore an oath to uphold democracy & we will do that tonight.”
Shirlene Ostrov, chair of the Hawai‘i Republican Party, and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i released a joint statement condemning the “violence, vandalism, intimidation, and mob rule that have no place in our republic.”
“As the people and citizens of Hawai‘i, we are friends, neighbors, and family. Regardless of politics or party, there is more that unites us than divides us. We are one country, united under a common law. While we may have passionate debates and disagreements, violent lawlessness has no role in our political process,” the statement read. “Many of us on both sides of the aisle may be feeling fear or anger today; It is so much more important than ever to remember what joins us together and show our aloha for one another.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.