SUNNYSIDE — Friday afternoon after safely landing back in the Yakima Valley in the wee hours of the morning, Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) was still trying to digest what happened on Wednesday, Jan. 6, when the country’s capital was overrun by Trump supporters contesting the results of the state’s electoral college ballots.
“It’s been crazy, and we are all in total shock over this,” Newhouse declared.
Resting at his rural home with his wife Joan, the Congressman struggled to make sense of President Donald Trump’s encouragement of the supporters to swarm Capitol Hill and his very loud silence from the White House during the riot.
“You know me, I’m a very strong Republican, and I’ve worked with this administration to accomplish things for our nation, our valley. But he didn’t even try to temper his remarks. I’m very disappointed,” said the four-term 4th District Congressional representative.
Newhouse replayed how on Wednesday, prior to the attack, the Senate and House of Representatives were in joint session to accept the electoral votes to confirm the November election, when he got an email message warning him of a possible bomb threat in the Cannon Building across the mall, where his offices are located.
“My wife and those close to me were in the Cannon Building, so I made the decision to step out and return to my offices as the two-hour debate on the contested Arizona votes got underway.”
He later learned after he had walked through the Speakers’ lobby where the rioters broken through, a woman – 35-year-old Ashli Babbit – had been shot. “Few minutes later I would have been in the middle of that,” Newhouse stated.
“As soon as I got to my offices, we were evacuated to the Longworth Building – the next building over – where we were sequestered for the rest of the day,” he recalled. “We watched in shock as the riot unfolded on television.”
“When we finally were able to go back into joint session and conclude the work, we were there to do it,” he concluded.
Newhouse is still trying to process the attack on the capital. “It’s hard to put into words,” he said.
He described the security as not being adequate. “The Capitol Police security completely unraveled. The D.C. Metro police had to be called in and eventually the arrival of the National Guard from Maryland and Virginia helped push back the protestors,” he recalled.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 12, the House of Representatives Democrats were moving to invoke an article of impeachment – a move Newhouse called unfortunate.
Now Newhouse is concerned whether Pence will invoke the 25th Amendment call for the Trump’s removal from office. “I think he is reluctant to make that move,” he said.
“You just don’t expect to see something like this. It’s a real Sept. 11 moment,” he emoted. “A moment we should never forget.”