By John Lavenburg, National Correspondent
WINDSOR TERRACE — In his first comments since President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building in protest of the 2020 election this past Wednesday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, condemned the president for instigating the behavior.
“It all seemed to be exacerbated by the fact that the man who should be a voice of reason and encouraging us to law and order and civility and unity, namely the president, seemed to be the one who was stoking these flames,” Cardinal Dolan said in a video posted to his Twitter account Sunday.
According to Cardinal Dolan’s video, he had just gotten back from a retreat where he was “secluded from the tumultuous events of this last week.”
At a rally just before protestors made their way to the Capitol, President Trump spoke at length about how the election was stolen. He called out the media, big tech corporations, and democrats for stealing it. And “weak Republicans” for not standing against it. At this point, there is no proven evidence of fraudulent electoral activity.
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump said at the rally.
At the end of the speech, he again told his supporters to make their way down to the Capitol building to encourage Republicans not to certify the election results.
“We are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue — I love Pennsylvania Avenue — and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give our Republicans — the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help. We’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” he said.
However, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading the calls to investigate the election results used provocative rhetoric at the rally.
“Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent, and if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. Let’s have trial by combat. I’m willing to stake my reputation, the President is willing to stake his reputation, on the fact that we’re going to find criminality there,” Giuliani said.
Trump also put out a video message on Twitter at the height of the violence where he sympathized with demonstrators but told them to go home.
“We have to have peace. So go home. We love you; you’re very special.”
Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn Monsignor Kieran Harrington believes Trump orchestrated the riot at the Capitol.
“He [Trump] set the conditions for what took place. He can’t absolve himself of responsibility,” he said.
Cardinal Dolan also condemned the negative rhetoric coming from various other leaders, driving the country further apart, rather than bridging divides.
“We’ve got a lot of voices in the country today, and a lot of them are less than helpful. A lot of them are know-it-alls who are screaming and yelling and telling us what we need to do, and I’m afraid they’re pouring Kerosene on the fire of violence and fracture, ominous clouds we’ve got in our beloved country,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Maybe there’s too many voices out there, and maybe we need to listen to God the Father.”
As a new week gets underway, the fallout from the protest-turned-riot continues.
In a letter to Democratic colleagues that made its way around the internet Sunday night, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi outlines the effort that will take place this week to remove Trump from office with nine days left of his term.
According to the letter, Vice President Mike Pence will be called on to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would declare the president incapable of executing his duties and remove him from office. Pence would then take over for the remainder of the term.
The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967. Legal scholars agree that the amendment’s intended use is when the president has a medical condition that affects their ability to lead the country, not as an alternative to impeachment.
If that doesn’t happen, Pelosi and House Democrats will bring impeachment legislation to the floor — a move many House Republicans have publicly stated they fear will only worsen the country’s polarization with so little time left in Trump’s presidency.
Law enforcement officials also continue the search for people that took part in storming the Capitol. So far, the man pictured at Nancy Pelosi’s desk; and the shirtless man wearing a fur hat with horns and face paint are among the more than 80 arrested.
On Sunday, police officers lined up along a Washington D.C. street during the procession for fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries sustained during the riots.
He was one of five that died at the Capitol on Wednesday. Ashli Babbitt, of Huntington, Maryland, died of a gunshot wound. The Washington D.C. Police Department attributed the other three deaths to medical emergencies: Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Ga.; Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, Ala.; and Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Ringtown, Penn.
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth on Sunday condemned the violence.
“Any questions concerning ballot integrity in an electoral process must be resolved in a lawful and peaceful manner with due process, and transparency must not be ignored. Rioting is not the way to resolve these concerns,” Olson said.
“This is true today after the outrageous violence at the Capitol on January 6, and it was true last summer during the violent and destructive riots throughout many cities in our country,” he continued.
“It is required of us to live by the rightful authority for the sake of justice and love. We also have the obligation to hold those entrusted with this rightful authority to be accountable in accord with justice and love. The law is required for the just and loving treatment of my neighbor, especially my neighbor who is the weakest and most vulnerable,” the bishop said.
Updated at 3:40 p.m.