SUBSCRIBE NOW

Republican Louisiana U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says Trump rioters committed treason

Greg Hilburn
Monroe News-Star

Republican Louisiana U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday attempting to block President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory committed treason, comparing the scene to that of a "third world country."

"These (rioters) are attempting to disrupt a constitutionally-mandated peaceful transfer of power ... we can't allow hooligans to do this," Cassidy said in an interview with USA Today Network. "It is in fact sedition and should be prosecuted as such."

Cassidy, who won re-election in a landslide Nov. 3, was among the Republicans who repudiated the effort by some of his colleagues in Congress to block certification of Biden's win over President Trump.

All five other Republican members of the Louisiana delegation — Sen. John Kennedy and U.S. Reps. Mike Johnson of Benton, Garret Graves of Baton Rouge, Clay Higgins of Acadiana and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie — had joined a minority effort to object to Biden's Electoral College win.

GOP divide:Call to challenge the Electoral College count has split Senate Republicans

After President Trump urged his supporters  to go to the Capitol, rioters stormed the building.

Kennedy, Johnson, Higgins and Scalise all condemned Wednesday's violence in statements but didn't walk back their decisions to object.

"I condemn this violent assault on the democratic process & will not be intimidated by a mob that confuses chaos & destruction with strength & wisdom," Kennedy tweeted. "I'll continue to work for LA."

From Johnson: "I unambiguously condemn in the strongest possible terms any and all forms of violent protest. Any individual who committed violence today should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

"I say to all violent aggressors... stand down," Higgins said.

From Scalise: "Attacks on law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs are never acceptable. Period. We can passionately protest without being violent."

“What happened on Capitol Hill was disgusting, surreal and beyond the pale," Graves said in a statement. "Selling out to savagery in the face of frustration doesn’t make you a patriot — it makes you a fool. I condemn every violent and destructive element of today’s events. It is an embarrassment to America.”

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, the state's only Democratic member of the delegation, is giving up his seat to work as a senior member of Biden's team.

President Trump released a video asking his supporters to return home but repeated claims that the election was stolen from him.

Cassidy said the president should speak to the rioters and tell them to disperse "without any equivocation or justification."

"There are dozens of court cases (challenging the election) thrown out by judges, including some appointed by President Trump, that lack a shred of evidence (of widespread fraud)," Cassidy said. "That's an important fact; not an opinion."

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.