MINNEAPOLIS — Typically, the Congressional ceremony to confirm a president-elect's Electoral College votes is uneventful, standard procedure.
This year was different. Wednesday's meeting of both the House and Senate was already scheduled to be tense, with Republican lawmakers in both chambers vowing to object to certifying Democrat Joe Biden's win.
Then, a crowd of President Trump's supporters, in Washington D.C. for a rally outside the White House, marched toward the U.S. Capitol. After clashing with law enforcement outside, a violent mob breached security and entered the Capitol, putting the building on lockdown and forcing lawmakers to evacuate the Senate floor.
KARE 11's Gia Vang caught up with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar via Zoom the morning after the unprecedented and violent attack to talk about her experience, why Congress decided to finish their vote, and her plans for Joe Biden's inauguration.
On how she felt about the insurrection
"I was actually heading up the debate against the people that were raising, what I consider to be baseless, baseless allegations that somehow there was something wrong with this election, when President Trump’s own head of Homeland Security and the election side said this was the most secure election in the history of America. And right when I finished my remarks against Senator Cruz, about five, 10 minutes later there was a breach at the Capitol. We were escorted into another room and the entire time from the minute I got there, I kept telling our Republican colleagues and Democrats we had to get back. That we had to finish our jobs. So I was a lot less focused on what was personally happening to me than I was on our democracy and the fact that we haven't had since 1814, the Capitol invaded, that time by British forces.
The fact that this is happening in the modern era, in 2021, incited by a president who literally told these rioters to march down the Capitol Mall and go to the Capitol. And guess what. They did it. And that is the problem with how he’s been handling this and not acknowledging what has happened to him in this election."
Photos: Trump supporters storm US capitol during Electoral College affirmation
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U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
On impeachment and invoking the 25th Amendment
"I voted in the past to impeach this president and I think the 25th amendment would be up to his cabinet members, but I think there’s a reason that you've got staff members, senior staff people are resigning. Yesterday, today, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that people are really quite worried about him. Because he has not been able to accept that he lost this election and here he is literally inciting insurrection."
On the Electoral College vote
"The fact that we got 93 votes, this was my job, to make sure that we had senators on both sides of the aisle saying you know what even if we didn’t support him, Joe Biden won the election. Guess what. That happened last night. It’s a silver lining but it happened.
A bunch of people switched their votes and basically said there was no widespread fraud. Joe Biden won fair and square."
On security at Joe Biden's inauguration
"The security for the inauguration is rather unique. The same event occurs every four years. President Obama, when President Trump was inaugurated and National Guard is involved. All those procedures will be followed. What happened here yesterday, clearly major lack of planning. Not understanding this was all out on social media that he was inciting people to go to the Capitol. You had major protests going on at the same time that you had this event of the entire Congress gathered to vote on objections regarding the electoral votes in each state. There’s going to be a reckoning for what happened and major changes going forward. And I also I want to add... arrest and prosecution for the people that violated the Capitol and committed acts of violence and desecration."
On critics who say the law enforcement response was restrained compared to the unrest following George Floyd's death
"Well I just look at what happened in D.C. around that time, if you remember when President Trump spoke in front of the historic church and literally waved a Bible. They had cleared out peaceful protesters. Now we know it’s a different story no matter what the cause when protesters are violent but these were peaceful protesters in D.C. They cleared them out and here you have protesters that were more than protesters, they were rioters. They were calling for the downfall of Joe Biden’s administration, they were calling for the reversal of the election, they were invading the Capitol, and so that is something else that must be examined. And not just examined but step back and say why did you let this happen?"
On working with a split Senate
"One of the moments that I will forever cherish from yesterday is we were all shoved into this room. Of course, I’m out there lobbying trying to get people to support this effort to squash these objections. And then Joe Biden came on to give this speech it was on national TV. The room was quiet, everyone listened, from liberal Democrats to conservative Republicans and at the end everyone clapped. So you know, I thought to myself, there is hope here because we have got too much work to do for the American people."
On COVID-19 in Biden's administration
"We've to get through this pandemic. So everything else just fades away as we look at getting the vaccine out to Minnesotans and making sure people are afloat economically until we get to the end of the tunnel here, where we’ve put the pandemic behind us. That’s going to govern everything we do and I think it will make it easier in my mind with the gridlock we had in the Senate to get some of these things passed and done with the new Biden administration."
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