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Ernst Says U.S. Capitol Attack By ‘Anarchists’ Is Absolutely Inexcusable

Pete Marovich/AP
Pool The New York Times
Vice President Mike Pence administers the oath of office to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, left, joined by her daughter Libby Ernst, during a reenactment ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst says she and her fellow Republicans need to “lead the way” and help unite the country after last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“It was attacked. There is no doubt about it, folks,” Ernst said this morning. “And the people that illegally entered that Capitol are anarchists.”

Ernst has issued written statements, but her first public remarks on the riot came this morning at an Iowa GOP fundraising breakfast in Des Moines.

“This past Wednesday was a horrible day for the United States of America,” Ernst said, “and what happened was absolutely inexcusable.”

Ernst did not mention President Trump or the Washington D.C. rally that preceded the Capitol attack, but she did address those who have excused the actions of the rioters.

“We, as Republicans, are better than that,” Ernst said. “We, as Republicans, need to lead the way.”

Ernst said she was praying for the two Capitol Police Officers who have died. Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann began this morning’s fundraiser by asking for a moment of silence.

“The Republican Party of Iowa condemns all violence across the ideological spectrum, period,” Kaufmann said. “You’re not going to hear me parse words.”

Kaufmann said the GOP remains the party of “law and order” and he criticized out-going Iowa Democratic Party chairman Mark Smith.

“There’s a big difference, folks, between your Republican Party of Iowa chair essentially condemning violence across the board and my colleague,” Kaufmann said. “I’m guessing my colleague is going to be very selective in the violence that he condemns.”

Gov. Reynolds and the other speakers at this morning’s event did not mention the attack on the Capitol, nor did they mention President Trump. Instead, they focused on the 2020 victories of Iowa Republicans and the 2021 Iowa legislative session which began today.