LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — Gov. Pete Ricketts is declining to get embroiled into the controversy over whether the Jan. 6 violent riot at the U.S. Capitol was “legitimate political discourse.”
In a response to questions submitted by the Nebraska Examiner earlier this week, a spokeswoman for Ricketts said Friday that he had no comment on that description of the riot made recently by the Republican National Committee.
Nor did the governor want to weigh in on the RNC’s censure of two GOP congressional representatives who are members of the congressional select committee investigating the violent attack.
Spokeswoman Alexis Reuss said Ricketts, a two-term Republican, has indicated in the past that the right to “peaceful protest” is of “utmost importance” but that anyone who broke the law Jan. 6 “should be prosecuted and held accountable.”
“It’s a shame when anyone uses a peaceful protest as an opportunity to riot, cause destruction and bring harm to others. It’s unacceptable, and we should prosecute those who break the law and hold them accountable,” Reuss said.
The RNC voted Feb. 3 to censure GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for participating in the January 6th Select Committee.
The RNC, in its censure resolution, condemned Cheney and Kinzinger for “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” a description that prompted outrage from Democrats as well as some Republicans.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 725 people have been arrested in connection with the violent assault on the Capitol, in which 140 police officers were assaulted, windows and doors were broken and offices were vandalized. At least $1.5 million in damages were estimated.
According to the New York Times, seven deaths were connected to the riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, including one rioter who was shot and killed trying to force her way into the Capitol, one officer who died the next day, and two officers who committed suicide in the following days.
Most of those charged — 640 —were accused of illegally entering a restricted federal building, though more than 75 were charged with possession of deadly weapons, 45 were charged with destruction of property and 40 were accused of conspiracy to obstruct congressional proceedings.
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