Congresswoman Kuster says about the assault on the Capitol, “I am both a witness and a victim to this crime. I have never experienced this level of trauma. I’m blessed to have the support of my family, but they didn’t sign up for this. They didn’t sign up for me going into combat.”
In an interview with Chris Ryan, Representative Annie Kuster from New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District discusses the vote on the impeachment of President Trump, assesses the three decisions made by Republican members of Congress, analyzes the motives of the people who stormed the Capitol, and reflects on how she was in fear for her life during the attack.
Congresswoman Kuster praises the decision of the ten Republican Representatives who courageously voted for impeachment despite threats from extremist groups; understands the Republicans who voted for censure of the President; questions the thinking of the Republicans that she describes as brainwashed, who, like the President, do not accept the results of the 2020 election, and voted against impeachment; and discusses another group of Republican lawmakers who colluded with the rioters who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th.
The Congresswoman describes the actions of Republican lawmakers who may have assisted in the insurrection by giving tours of the Capitol on the day before the assault. Some Representatives spoke at the rally using fiery rhetoric prior to the attack.
While acknowledging that there were many supporters of President Trump who only came to Washington to peacefully protest or to show support, Congresswoman Kuster reveals that the FBI has identified 160 individuals, so far, who were conspiring to violently attack the Capitol.
In addition, there are questions about the apparent lack of security when such a large protest group was present in the area.
The Congresswoman states that there were few options since Vice President Pence refused to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. Despite it being so late in his term of office, she says that impeachment was called for because, “This country is not safe as long as Donald Trump is President of the United States. That’s the bottom line. I had hoped that the President would have resigned. Any rational person would have!”
When the House of Representatives was being evacuated, Congresswoman Kuster was in the Gallery or balcony area and was one of the last lawmakers to leave the area. Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran from San Diego, was shot and killed by Capitol Police near that spot. The Congresswoman is convinced that if the mob had not been stopped at that point, there would have been serious loss of life in the House Chamber.
In the final segment of the interview, Congresswoman Kuster relives the terrifying hours of the siege of the Capitol Building. As she was waiting to be evacuated from the House Chamber, the Congresswoman thought that she was trapped and that her life was over. She credits the courage and resourcefulness of the Capitol police for her rescue and moving her and the other lawmakers to a secure room where they waited for six hours. The safe room held several hundred people–mostly members of Congress. There was an incident with a Republican Congressman who refused to wear a mask and for emphasis stated, “I can’t breathe!” Since that time, several colleagues of Congresswoman Kuster who were in that room have tested positive for COVID. She has been isolated for a week while anxiously awaiting test results, which are negative. The Congresswoman feels like she is in a very difficult position because our country faces so many challenges and these recent events were so frightening.
Despite the harrowing events of January 6, 2021, Congresswoman Kuster looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and the next Congress.