The Cavalier Daily
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EDITORIAL: Expel elected officials who encouraged the Capitol insurrection

The representatives who have failed to uphold our democracy must be held accountable

<p>All members of the House and Senate who were complicit in this violent insurrection must be held accountable for their role in encouraging an ongoing coup attempt that counters our democratic values.</p>

All members of the House and Senate who were complicit in this violent insurrection must be held accountable for their role in encouraging an ongoing coup attempt that counters our democratic values.

The world watched as mobs fueled by President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building yesterday to contest the results of a free and fair election. This is an unprecedented assault on our democracy that violates U.S. law and must be denounced by all Americans — including the elected officials who were chosen to uphold the values of a fair and inclusive democracy. All members of the House and Senate who were complicit in this violent insurrection must be held accountable for their role in encouraging an ongoing coup attempt that counters our democratic values. Here in Virginia, we call on state senator Amanda Chase to step down and suspend her campaign for governor for her role in encouraging this attack on democracy. We also urge Rep. Bob Good of Virginia’s Fifth District to withdraw his support of baseless allegations of voter fraud that harms our democracy and to start representing Virginians instead of pandering to party politics.

Sen. Chase, who notably attended the rally and called it the start of a “revolution,” failed to condemn or denounce the violence that occurred at the Capitol building yesterday. Rather, she instigated the violence prior to the mob’s insurgence by defending the Second Amendment as the foundation of all protected freedoms, such as protest. Her comments are especially haunting considering the mayhem that the mobs caused. It is clear that Sen. Chase is unfit to represent and serve Virginians in the 11th District and should not be given consideration for governor this year. Further, the four Virginia congressmen who objected to President-elect Joe Biden’s certification must immediately take full responsibility for their roles in giving credence to dangerous disinformation — their names are Rob Whittman, Bob Good, Morgan Griffith and Ben Cline. 

Only three days into his term as congressman, Rep. Good has already significantly contributed to the same dangerous rhetoric that caused the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville — the very community he was sent to Congress to represent. Those who objected to the election certification have proven their blind loyalty to Trump over the will of the American people. Their indulgence in conspiracy theories warrants immediate expulsion from their roles as representatives of the people. 

The riots in the nation’s capital were nothing short of a coup d'état — a clear attempt to coerce Congress into defying the results of the 2020 election. From breaking windows of a federal building and looting Nancy Pelosi’s office, to the armed standoff in the Senate chamber and the death of four people, the actions of this mob are an explicit act of domestic terrorism. Any representative who encouraged and enabled the mob cannot be left to continue to govern our country under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that no representatives or officials shall engage in insurrection or rebellion against the government. What we witnessed is sedition, and some of our elected representatives incited this rebellion against the authority of the government. Expelling these representatives would not be unprecedented — in 1860, several mostly Southern senators were kicked out after refusing to accept Abraham Lincoln’s presidential election and inspiring “conspiracy for the destruction of the Union and government.”

Doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election are simply not valid. They do not stem from any legitimate cases of voter fraud nor support from the American court system. Instead, these doubts come from the politicians who perpetuated these blatant lies. Representatives like Sen. Chase did the American people a great disservice that has resulted in domestic terrorism, national security threats and death. The numerous representatives that were complicit in these conspiracy theories and riots must be expelled from Congress for failure to uphold and further our democracy.

While the removal of unfit politicians from our government may not prevent further insurgence of anti-democratic actions, it is a necessary step in the right direction. It is difficult to find language strong enough to express how it feels to watch homegrown terrorism unfold in our nation’s capital. It is unnerving to watch Capitol police fail to prevent majority white rioters to enter federal government buildings — especially in such stark contrast to how police violently shut down Black Lives Matter protests just months ago. It is horrifying to see images of nooses and Confederate flags amongst the mobs and even inside the Capitol building. It is deeply disturbing to hear Trump express to these terrorists: “We love you. You’re very special.” Worst of all — this isn’t new. We all saw this coming. When white supremacists marched in Charlottesville three years ago, Trump called them “very fine people.” It is sad that we have to witness the same rhetoric yet again.

The Cavalier Daily’s Editorial Board supports calls for impeachment and the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, as he presents a clear and present danger towards the future of our democratic republic. We also stand by calls for the expulsion of lawmakers who enabled and fueled yesterday’s riots, and urge the media to stop circulating baseless conspiracy theories. 

Removing officials who incited this violence is just the beginning. This commitment to disinformation, conspiracy theories and white supremacy is anti-democratic and does not begin and end with Trump or the lawmakers who are loyal to him. If you didn’t believe that this could happen in the United States — think again. There is no turning back, and the American people must be committed to transparency, truth and dismantling racist institutions and groups. The truth matters.

The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, their Senior Associate and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at