NC Republican leaders condemn violence; some still question election outcome

Posted January 7, 2021 12:57 p.m. EST

In North Carolina, Republican leaders were carefully weighing their words in condemnation of the chaos that overwhelmed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. As lawmakers gathered inside to certify the presidential election for Joe Biden, tens of thousands of supporters of President Trump marched down Pennsylvania Avenue and some of them stormed the building, ultimately gaining access and forcing the proceedings to be delayed.

Many of North Carolina's Republican leaders issued statements about the riot. By Thursday at noon, none had been willing to answer questions about it in person.

Sen. Richard Burr was the first North Carolina Republican to say Trump is to blame.

"The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point," Burr said in a statement.

Sen. Thom Tillis equated the attack on the Capitol with the riots that erupted after the killing of George Floyd earlier this year.

"I proudly back the blue and support law and order, which is why I condemned the violence that took place in cities across the nation this summer," Tillis said in a statement. "It's a national disgrace to have a mob attacking Capitol Police and engaging in anarchy."

The chairman of the state Republican party, Michael Whatley, also denounced the riot.

"The actions of these violent protestors is completely unjustified and unacceptable. There is no rationale to excuse this assault on the foundations of our Democracy," he said.

Neither of the North Carolina senators nor Whatley spoke out over the past two months about the president's increasingly inflammatory rhetoric as he promoted false claims that the election was stolen.

State Senator Bob Steinburg continued to raise those questions on Thursday.

"When you have unresolved questions about this election by millions and millions of people being ignored and not even addressed you are going to have folks who want answers who are fed up," he posted to Facebook. "Biden - agree to a forensic audit and this ends."

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