Barricaded in my office one year ago today, I released my first piece of legislation as a member of the United States Congress: House Resolution 25, a resolution to both investigate and expel those Members who worked to overturn the results of our democratic election; those whose Trump-driven lies incited the attack. It was my third day on the job.
I knew, from the moment I saw Confederate battle flags inching closer to the Capitol that this hateful, violent coup attempt couldn’t have assembled and succeeded without support from the inside.
One year later, every shred of evidence that committees and journalists have unearthed has offered only further proof of that truth. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has asked for an investigation into reports that numerous members probably gave unauthorized reconnaissance tours in the days leading up to the attack. Representatives Boebert, Cawthorn, Greene, Gohmert and Biggs have all been singled out for their extensive participation in strategizing ahead of the attack. There is growing evidence that Representative Paul Gosar raised the possibility of a blanket pardon in planning meetings ahead of the insurrection. There are confirmed reports that Representative Mo Brooks arrived for his speech on January 6th wearing body armor.
These facts are out there in the public record, yet, one year later, Congress has failed to hold its own members accountable.
One year later, these same Members continue to advance a racist electoral effort to invalidate the votes and voices of Black, brown, and Indigenous voters.
One year later, these same Members harass me, my colleagues, and our staff as we do the work for the constituents that sent us to Congress, hoarding guns in their offices and threatening to bring weapons onto the House floor.
One year later, I am doubling down on my call to hold these insurrectionist-abetting white supremacists accountable for their roles on January 6th, 2021.
Section 3 of the 14th amendment makes it completely straightforward: no person who works in rebellion against the United States government can hold the office of Representative, Senator, or President. No person should be serving in Congress while actively working to undermine the rights and freedoms of the American people. The Republican members of Congress who incited this attack must be expelled from Congress.
Without any repercussions, we are sending a message. A message that every conspiracy theorist, every far-right white supremacist group, and every would-be insurrectionist has the green light to try again. More importantly, we are telling the country that in 2022, white supremacist violence is not only acceptable, but welcome in the halls of Congress and on the streets in communities across this country.
So let me be clear: one year later, we have not held my colleagues accountable.
We have not accepted the fact that every elected official has to go to work each day with Members who supported an insurrection that could have taken our lives and overthrown our democracy.
I applaud the January 6th Committee for their swift efforts to bring in and interview many of the major outside instigators. But, a full year later, how is it possible we still have not heard from the elected officials that actively contributed to that same attack? With our inaction, Congress is sanctioning behavior that, in any private workplace, wouldn’t withstand even a modest human resources inquiry.
St. Louis and I will not stand by and allow racist, hateful attacks to go unchecked.
St. Louis and I will not stand by and watch bigots and insurrectionists parade around our workplace, abusing and harassing our colleagues.
St. Louis and I will stand up for the right for Black, brown, and Indigenous people to cast our votes without the threats of violent, white backlash.
Every staffer has a right to feel safe at work. Every Capitol police officer has a right to know the truth. Every American must be assured that no lie, conspiracy theory, or armed group of white supremacists has the power to impair the government they freely and fairly elected.
Hundreds of other insurrectionists have been prosecuted and been forced to reckon with the consequences of their violence. Why shouldn’t my own coworkers?