By Steve Metsch
U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd) was on the Capitol campus, in a safe place, when the riot broke out Jan. 6, but she’ll never forget that day.
“It was very tense,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday from Washington, D.C. “Everything was going alone fine until it was clear that the Capitol Police were out-resourced and didn’t have enough backup.”
Newman said she surprised to learn later that requests for the National Guard were denied until later that day, long after the Capitol had been breached.
“The Trump administration just didn’t want them there. They’re offering no explanation,” Newman said.
Those who attacked the Capitol, roaming the halls, breaking into offices and even onto the floor of the House Chamber “were violent domestic terrorists,” she said.
Newman will long recall seeing Nazi flags and people wearing T-shirts “with vile messages about every nationality, ethnicity and religion.”
“They were clear,” she said. “They wanted to hurt somebody. They wanted to take down democracy. They wanted to overturn the Constitution. They were insurrectionists.”
She said thousands of lives were in jeopardy “not just members of Congress, but there was staff there, maintenance teams. … It was the most irresponsible thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
“There were T-shirts that said things I cannot repeat.,” Newman said. “There were Confederate flags. There were swastikas. I’ll give you a light version. A number were wearing Camp Auschwitz T-shirts (that read) ‘Wish they got more of them’ on the back. It’s horrifying.”
Auschwitz, of course, is the infamous concentration camp run by the Nazis, who killed 6 million Jews – along with others – in the Holocaust during World War II.
Despite the terrifying events of Jan. 6, Newman is confident the inauguration of Joe Biden will go on safely Jan. 20 with “a much better security plan” orchestrated by the Secret Service.
“We feel much better about security,” Newman said. “It’s very significant and a huge improvement and it will go on. I will be there with my husband, Jim.”
The wild turn of events took place just three days after Newman was sworn in for a two-year term in Congress. Asked if this was her baptism by fire, she laughed: “By definition, if you look it up, that’s what it was.”
In closing, she said “I want to assure everybody that there are much brighter days ahead. The Biden administration and Congress have an excellent plan to get the vaccine distribution expedited equitably.”
She added the next relief package for small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to soon be approved, too.
By Steve Metsch