A ‘moral and political crisis’

Faith, civic leaders decry attack on Capitol by Trump supporters

Rev. RB Holmes said last week’s attack on the Capitol left the country facing a “moral and political crisis.”
Photo by St. Clair Murraine
Pastor Greg James was among the speakers decrying a riot last week at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook staff writer 

From the outset, Rev. RB Holmes Jr. along with other members of the local clergy and community leaders made it clear why they came to decry pro-Trump supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The group showed up for a press conference last Friday because of what Holmes called a “moral and political crisis in America.”

Holmes, pastor at Bethel Baptist Church where the press conference took place, later added: “We have come to stand for the American flag. Not the Confederate flag. Not the Trump flag, nor the Proud Boys flag, but the American flag.”

The press conference took place two days after President Donald Trump incited thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol during a protest.  It turned into a horrific afternoon that outraged most who watched it unfold live on television.

The protestors gathered near the Capitol to demonstrate their support for Trump in his unproven argument that the November election was stolen from him.

The fatal attack began just after Congress began to certify the Electoral College votes that showed Joe Biden had a 306-232 victory over Trump on Nov. 3.

Five people died saturday as Trump supporters took over the Capitol, a first since the War of 1812. A sixth person died saturday of injuries sustained during the insurrection.

Political and civic leaders across the country have called for Trump’s removal from office before his last day on Jan. 20 when Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated. 

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey, who said he and other mayors across the country are calling for charges against those who attacked the Capitol, like the rest of the country  was anticipating the counting the Electoral College votes as a first step to celebrate a peaceful transition of power.

“Instead what we witnessed was a horrific act,” Dailey said. “Unpatriotic, un-American act.”

First-term County Commissioner Carolyn Cummings said she was “perplexed and bewildered by what we all witnessed in real time in the Capital of the United States of America and the Capitol building.”

“This is just wrong,” she added. “Absolutely wrong. Here in 2021 we are better than this.”

While the call for Trump’s removal from office has gotten louder in recent days, several of those who were seen during the insurrection in the Capitol have been arrested.

Three men from Florida were among the first arrested on federal charges. Meanwhile, FBI Director Christopher Wray issued a press release condemning those who stormed the Capitol. He called it an “affront on our democracy.” 

Several Florida politicians, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, are among those condemning the protestors who pushed their way into the Capitol. Ironically, DeSantis is expecting the state legislature to take up his Combating Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act during the upcoming session in Tallahassee.

At the time when DeSantis announced the measure, he told reporters “Florida won’t tolerate rioting, looting or violence.”

He announced his plan to push back against protestors on the heels of statewide protest that was sparked by the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers last May.  Trump supporters in some quarters are comparing those protests that went on for most of the summer to what happened last Wednesday in Washington. 

That was addressed by Rick Minor, chairman of the Leon County Commission during last week’s press conference.

If the protestor were Black or Brown, “we would have had a tragedy of Biblical proportion,” Minor said.

That sentiment was echoed by Holmes, who said the Black Lives Matter protests locally and across the country were non-violent.

“The Civil War is over,” Holmes said. “The Confederates lost, what they did was treason. It was a betrayal of this country.”

Holmes also joined the call for Trump’s removal from office, a step that Congress intended to take up, starting last Monday.

Congressman Al Lawson was one of the first to call for Trump’s ouster, while the riot was taking place.

He put the blame for inciting the protestors squarely on Trump’s lies and baseless claim that the election was fraudulent.

 “The president set the stage for it,” Lawson told the Outlook. “He had a rally and he told them what to do and they marched and took over the Capitol.”