WASHINGTON (WCBS 880) — As the U.S. Senate resumed debating the Republican challenge against Joe Biden's presidential election victory, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Jan. 6, 2021 will "live forever in infamy.''
Schumer delivered remarks six hours after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol forcing lawmakers to flee for safety.
"It is very, very difficult to put into words what has transpired today," said as he began his address. "I have never lived through or even imagined the experience like the one we have just witnessed in this capital. President Franklin Roosevelt set aside Dec. 7, 1941 as a day that will live in infamy, unfortunately we can now add Jan. 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy."
"This temple to democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized. The world saw Americans' elected officials hurriedly ushered out because they were in harm's way. The House and Senate floors were places of shelter until the evacuation was ordered, leaving rioters to stalk these hallowed halls," he continued. "Lawmakers and our staffs, average citizens who love their country, serve it every day, feared for their lives. I understand that one woman was shot and tragically lost her life. We mourn her and feel for her friends and family. These images were projected to the world. foreign embassies cabled their home capitals to report the harrowing scenes at the very heart of our democracy."
Schumer declared, "This will be a stain on our country, not so easily washed away. The final, terrible indelible, legacy of the 45th president of the United States, undoubtedly our worst."
The Democrat from New York said President Donald Trump "bears a great deal of the blame'' for the violence that transpired Wednesday.
"Today's events did not happen spontaneously," Schumer said. "The president who promoted conspiracy theories that motivated these thugs, the president who exhorted them to come to our nation's capital, egg them on, he hardly ever discourages violence and more often encourages it, this president bears a great deal of the blame. This mob was in good part President Trump's doing, incited by his words, his lies. This violence in good part, his responsibility, his everlasting shame. Today's events certainly would not have happened without him. Now Jan. 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent American history, a final warning to our nation about the consequences of a demagogic president, the people who enable him, the captive media that parrots his lies, and the people who follow him as he attempts to push America to the brink of ruin."
Schumer thanked the Capitol Hill Police, Secret Service and local lawenforcement for keeping members of the House and Senate safe, and returning the Capitol "to its rightful owners and its rightful purpose."
He labeled those who stormed the Capitol "domestic terrorists" and said they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"I want to be very clear, those who performed these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters. No, these were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists. They do not represent America. They were a few thousand violent extremists who tried to take over the Capitol building and attack our democracy," Schumer said. "They must and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, hopefully by this administration, and if not, certainly by the next. They should be provided no leniency."
Schumer vowed that Congress would finish the work of confirming the results of the presidential election.
"As we reconvene tonight, let us remember in the end, all this mob has really accomplished is to delay our work by a few hours. We will resume our responsibilities now and we will finish our task tonight. The House and Senate chambers will be restored good as new and ready for legislating in short order," Schumer said. "The counting of the electoral votes is our sacred duty, democracy's roots in this nation are deep, they're strong, and they will not be undone ever by a group of thugs. Democracy will triumph as it has for centuries."
He closed his remarks by addressing the American people who may be worried about the future of this country, promising that the country will prevail.
"The divisions in our country clearly run deep, but we are a resilient, forward-looking and optimistic people," Schumer said. "And we will begin the hard work of repairing this nation tonight because here in America we do hard things, in America we always overcome our challenges."