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While making an appearance on The Late Show Thursday, Sanders expressed his disbelief over what transpired, especially given the United States has “the largest military in the history of the world.”
On Jan. 6, pro-Trump supporters thwarted a peaceful transfer of power, fighting past police and breaching the Capitol building. The rioters marched through the halls, waving Trump and American flags. Senators were evacuated, with some House lawmakers tweeting that they were sheltering in place in their offices.
“The idea that we could not protect the United States Capitol from a few thousand rioters is unbelievable,” Sanders told Stephen Colbert.
He went on to call the ill-preparedness of Capitol law enforcement a “tremendous failure of leadership, which will be investigated [to] make sure that never happens again.”
Following Joe Biden being declared the president-elect, Trump has made repeated claims that the election was rigged, with Sanders acknowledging that some senators failed to state that Trump truly lost.
“At the end of the day, the crisis is that you have a president who gave us a big, big lie that he won the election by a landslide, when in fact he lost,” Sanders said. “He lost the election, period, end of discussion, and we had very, very few senators who made that statement.”
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege.
“This president, and anybody else who enters the Oval Office, must understand that if you incite insurrection against your own government for your own cheap political purposes, that will be severely punished,” Sanders stated.
The late-night host asked for Sanders’ thoughts as to what could be done to ensure that there are consequences in place for government officials who incite insurrection of this magnitude, as Trump allies Senator Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have been accused of doing prior to the riot.
“If that allegation is true, that tells you something that has to be dealt with,” Sanders said, adding that what has concerned him the most is hearing that there were “some members of the House who actually escorted people who turned out to be rioters through the Capitol premises” prior to the shocking event.
Sanders reiterated that although things need to be handled carefully when considering “expelling people,” should any of the allegations that members of Congress aided the mob of Trump supporters at the Capitol prove to be true, then “this will be an issue.”
“How we deal with this is something that has to be looked at very, very hard,” Sanders said.
Following the Capitol riot, Missouri and Republican Senator Hawley was accused of helping incite the mob of Trump supporters and criticized for challenging the presidential election results after announcing that he would object during the Electoral College certification process. Simon & Schuster will no longer publish Hawley’s forthcoming book as a result.
The late-night host later reiterated that it’s hard to find a “common cause” with the people who supported the president, “many of whom are working class white people.”
But Sanders said he hoped “to bring people together around an agenda that is in fact supported by the vast majority of the American people, and vigorously oppose those people who want to divide us up by the color of our skin, or our religion or where we were born.”
Sanders said that it’ll be up to Congress “to rise up and be extremely bold in addressing the major crises facing working families and the middle class.”
“People are losing faith in government,” the senator expressed. “We have to restore that faith by saying, ‘you know what, we hear your pain.’ And we’re gonna respond in a bold matter.”
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