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Utah politicians reflect on anniversary of Jan. 6 insurrection

On the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Utah's elected officials made statements about their memories of the day and questioned the response since then.
Blink O'fanaye
Flickr Creative Commons
On the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Utah's elected officials made statements about their memories of the day and questioned the response since then.

It’s been a year since pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. At the time, Utah politicians condemned the violence.

Now, they are reflecting on the insurrection and evaluating Congress’s response to it.

Rep. Blake Moore, R-UT

Jan. 6 was Moore’s fourth day on the job. He was in the House chamber when it got locked down as pro-Trump extremists stormed the building.

“The Capitol police came in, they barricaded all the doors and there was banging on the walls,” he said. “It was a harrowing experience. I actually called my wife and I'm like, ‘I don't know what's about to happen.’”

Congress was meeting that day to certify the presidential election results and some Republicans wanted them to object to that.

Moore said to avoid a repeat of Jan. 6, Congress needs to agree on whether objecting to or overturning the results is constitutional. He said he doesn’t think it is, “but those members that voted to not certify, they were taking a constitutional approach as well. And that's why I'm saying we need to clarify it.”

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT

Curtis said he’s disappointed we don’t have yet answers to some critical questions about that day — like why the National Guard wasn’t immediately called in and what role former President Donald Trump might have played. In May, Curtis and Moore were among 35 House Republicans who voted in favor of a bipartisan commission to investigate. That measure later died in the Senate.

“Our mistake was when we didn't put together a bipartisan commission of experts who could have studied this and given us better answers,” Curits said.

A Democrat-controlled committee is now investigating. But Curtis fears political ideology could impact people’s willingness to accept the findings.

“The American people are going to be left wanting,” he said. “Facts are facts and if you're open minded and you're looking at this commission, facts will impact you and I know they will [impact] me. Now, opinion or conjecture — those are the things that I think will be discounted.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT

Romney said in a statement the country needs to learn from Jan. 6 and democracy is fragile.

“[Democracy] cannot survive without leaders of integrity and character who care more about the strength of our Republic than about winning the next election,” he said. “I said last year that the best way we can show respect for voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.”

Romney’s office declined an interview with KUER.

Other Utah members of Congress

Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, and Rep. Burgess Owens, R-UT, did not respond to a request for comment and have not released statements about the anniversary.

Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov Deidre Henderson

Cox and Henderson released a joint statement about the anniversary of a “difficult day.”

“We were shocked by the attack on the U.S. Capitol but inspired by the resiliency of our government and its institutions,” they said. “May we continue the hard work of strengthening our constitutional republic.”

Cox also retweeted Romney’s statement, writing “Amen.”

Utah political parties

The Utah GOP has not released a statement on the anniversary.

The Utah Democratic Party told people in a tweet to “never forget” the insurrection.

“One year ago today, Utahns watched with horror as an insurrectionist mob descended on the Capitol in an effort to tear down our democracy,” it said. “We watched with even greater disgust as Reps. Stewart and Owens STILL voted to decertify the election.”

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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