‘Un-American plain and simple’: Tampa Bay lawmakers, officials respond to violent protests at US Capitol

Florida

TAMPA (WFLA) – As disorder unfolded in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, lawmakers who represent and serve the Tampa Bay area took to social media with bipartisan condemnation of the violent protests.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statement calling the violence and rioting unacceptable and called for those involved to “face the full weight of the law. The Republican governor also praised the Capitol police for their work.

Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Florida’s two Republican senators, called what was happening “3rd world style anti-American anarchy.” In a separate tweet, Rubio urged President Donald Trump to call on his supporters to stand down.

Rick Scott, the former governor of Florida who is now the state’s second Republican senator, also condemned the violence, calling those who were involved “thugs.”

Another former governor of the Sunshine State called for President Trump’s removal through the 25th Amendment. Charlie Crist, now a Democratic congressman for District 13, called the violence at the Capitol “heartbreaking” and “anti-American,” and said, “it’s time to remove the president.”

U.S. Rep Kathy Castor, the Democratic congresswoman who represents the 14th District of Florida, called the events outrageous and said it would not stop Congress from moving forward with a peaceful transfer of power.

Republican Rep. Daniel Webster from Florida’s 11th District thanked Capitol police for their protection and condemned any violence happening.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis said his staff was told to shelter in place during the protests. The Republican congressman from District 12 said he supports the right to peaceful protest but noted: “unruly behaviors are completely unacceptable and place law enforcement and countless individuals in harm’s way.”

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, who serves District 16, called what happened at the Capitol “sickening and unacceptable.”

Newly sworn-in Rep. Scott Franklin, the Republican from District 15 who joined the group contesting presidential election results, issued a statement to 8 On Your Side condemning the violence.

“There’s never an excuse for this kind of violence in a civil society. America is better than this,” he said. “As soon as the Capitol has been cleared, we will return to the Chamber to continue our Constitutional duties.”

Franklin later told 8 On Your Side he was still planning on contesting the results.

“But please understand, I condemn what has happened here today in the strongest possible terms,” he added. “We must be able to have civil, political debate and not goaded by the threats of anarchists.”

Rep. Greg Steube, the Republican congressman from District 17, said the “violence and lawlessness we saw today” completely unacceptable and said we must do better as a nation.

Sen. Janet Cruz, who serves District 18 in the Florida Senate, tweeted a message asking Trump to put an end to the protests.

“The election is over,” she wrote. “Call this s*** off, Mr. President.”

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis tweeted that violent rioters are “criminals…regardless of their cause.” The Republican state official called images from the Capitol “beyond disappointing” and thanked police for their work.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor also issued a statement calling the actions of the violent protesters “un-American plain and simple.”

“What is happening right now is an attack on our democratic process and institutions,” she added.

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