Disgusting, disappointing, disturbing:
Those are the adjectives leading Schoharie County Republicans used to describe the January 6 riots at the Capitol and President Donald Trump’s role in inciting them.
But although they were repulsed and shocked at the vandalism and deaths, Republicans don’t believe President Trump should be removed from office.
Invading the Capitol, rioters smashed glass, fixtures and stole mementoes while legislators and aides fled the building.
Watching the break-in “while Congress was in session made me weep,” said Assemblyman Chris Tague, also the county Republican chairman.
“Unbelievable. It’s not who we are or what this country’s about,” he added.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Federice described himself as disgusted and disappointed.
“I don’t care what happened,” he said. “You don’t resort to violence. If you have a legitimate grievance, pursue it legally.
“I’m 100 percent against whatever they were trying to do.”
Most Republicans also blamed President Trump for rousing the rioters at a rally earlier in the day.
“They were misled by President Trump,” said Mary Ann Wollaber-Bryan, county treasurer.
“I don’t know how it escalated, but they believed what he was saying.”
And the President didn’t help matters much when, during the riot, he asked them to desist but still raised the issue of a stolen election and fraudulent voting.
“The President could have been bold and decisive, but he wasn’t,” said County Attorney Mike West.
Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister reasoned that much of the post-election anguish could have been avoided if Mr. Trump just admitted he lost.
Mr. McAllister pointed to the close 1960 election, when Richard Nixon had solid evidence there was voting fraud in Texas and Illinois, giving the race to John F. Kennedy.
But Mr. Nixon “decided that the country can’t go through this,” Mr. McAllister said. “He could have challenged, but he didn’t.”
Although there may have been fraud in the 2020 election, “nothing could be proved, so there was no reason to go forward,” Mr. McAllister said.
“Trump should have conceded, but he couldn’t accept that.”
“If you’re disappointed in the election results, just do better next time,” Mr. Tague added.
As for removing the President from office, most Republicans believed there was no point with only days left in his term.
“I think it’s ridiculous with only 10 days left,” Mr. West said Monday.
“What damage can he do between now and January 20?” Mr. Federice asked.
Removing the President, Mr. Tague said, would just “infuriate those who are already infuriated,” and lead to further rioting, while Mr. West said security better be prepared for Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Sheriff Ron Stevens believed the President couldn’t be removed and also noted that Mr. Trump promised a smooth transfer of power.
“He should still be able to move ahead with that,” Sheriff Stevens said.
Only Ms. Wollaber-Bryan wavered on the removal issue, saying it was a tough question.
Going forward, she had two concerns: The country itself and how other countries view Republicans.
“I hope the rest of the world realizes that these people don’t represent the Republican Party,” Ms. Wollaber-Bryan said.
“And how do we begin to heal? I pray for all of us.”