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Despite Capitol Violence, Markwayne Mullin Holds Firm In Objecting To Electoral College Results

Flickr / blinkofanaye
Pro-Trump extremists scale a wall at the U.S. Capitol during a violent insurrection on Wednesday.

What was supposed to be a routine vote to confirm Joe Biden as the next President turned into a violent insurrection of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, and images quickly circulated online of a chaotic standoff between Capitol police and pro-Trump extremists as Oklahoma Representative Markwayne Mullin watched behind the seats of Congress.

Mullin, a Cherokee Nation citizen who represents Oklahoma’s 2nd district, was seen taking cover on the House floor on Wednesday as an angry mob of Trump supporters broke glass trying to gain entry. Other images showed him standing just behind officers who had their guns drawn and pointed at the barricaded doorway.

"I thought they were shooting through the door, quickly realized that it wasn't shots," Mullin said hours after the mob left the building and Congress reconvened to confirm Biden’s nomination.

Mullin said security on the House floor thought the sound of break glass were gunshots also, and drew their weapons.

Mullin engaged with one of the people trying to violently enter the House floor, hoping to de-escalate the situation. He praised the response of the Capitol police, saying they were outnumbered. One officer lost his life as a result of injuries sustained during the rioting.

"They put their life on the line, literally," said Mullin.

There has been widespread criticism about the Capitol Police's lack of preparation. Leading up to Wednesday's vote, false allegations about a stolen election seemed to stoke the anger and violence the nation witnessed.

The insurrection was the culmination of weeks of outlandish rhetoric and widespread planning that took place openly on websites popular with far-right conspiracy theorists.

A tweet by Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for the New York Times, explained that cops gave rioters directions to Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer's office, but pointed a gun at a journalist.

When asked whether or not the President, who has been stoking the flames with his repeated and unfounded claims of voter fraud, bore responsibility, Mullin said he found the question to be hypocritical.

"We are responsible for our own actions, period," said Mullin. "And if you're going to lay blame like that on President Trump, then where was the outcry with the other members of Congress in the Democrat Party when they were saying the most ridiculous things about the president and accusing him of the most ridiculous stuff along the way for the last five years?"

Mullin said he is in favor of prosecuting those who caused Wednesday's destruction and violence. Five people died and 52 people were arrested.

Mullin, along with every other representative from Oklahoma, opposed Biden's certification. He insisted that his vote to object was not politically-motivated.

"My vote was exercising my constitutional obligation under Article II, Section One clause One-it clearly states who has the authority to exercise election laws as far as when, where and how those elections will be held," Mullin said, repeating the Republicans complaint about election laws in certains states that extended deadlines for absentee ballots.

"And that's the state legislators. There are several states that didn't abide by that and that's not their authority to do so," said Mullin.

Mullin insists the people who destroyed property and disrupted Congress on Wednesday weren't normal Trump supporters. He called them "professional agitators."

Many people are calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Lawmakers say that he has incited violence with his words and Tweets and encouraged the crowd to commit acts of violence.

Mullin disagrees.

"With all due respect, I think that's absolutely ridiculous, because we've seen the left also agitate and say the most ridiculous things," said Mullin.

Objection to Biden's confirmation didn't succeed, despite the 147 Republican lawmakers who opposed.

"I have a constitutional obligation to do what I'm doing, and I feel very strong about that," said Mullin after acknowledging that the effort to overturn the results was doomed to fail.

"I can sleep a lot better knowing that I tried, knowing that I did my best to exercise what I believe is my constitutional obligation to do so," said Mullin.


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Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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