U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber was in a safe location in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, describing the insurrection attempt inside the U.S. Capitol to the News Tribune as “unacceptable.”
“It’s unacceptable that this protest, or rally, got out of hand, storming the Capitol and putting so many people at risk,” Stauber said. “I think President Trump had the opportunity to tell the people, specifically, ‘You must remain peaceful,’ because that’s who we are and it spiraled out of control. I for one am extremely disappointed in what President Trump said, and also extremely disappointed in the behavior of many people today."
The Hermantown Republican representing the 8th Congressional District has been a self-described "fierce" supporter of Trump and his administration. Stauber said he didn't think the day's event was an attempt to overthrow the government.
"I wouldn't go that far," he said.
Stauber began the day like he always does, he said, attending Mass, where he met Vice President Mike Pence’s brother, Greg Pence.
Stauber said he told Greg Pence, “I know your brother will make the best decision,” regarding Pence’s role in counting and accepting each state’s Electoral College votes related to the Nov. 3 election.
Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
Stauber was dismayed by a Trump tweet earlier in the day in which the president said Pence “didn’t have the courage” to attempt to deny votes in key swing states.
Trump has been agitating for weeks to overturn the results of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” Stauber said regarding Trump’s attack on Pence. “The Constitution is bigger than any political party or any politician.”
Despite supporting a Texas lawsuit last month attempting to prevent votes from being counted, Stauber had been prepared Wednesday to endorse the Electoral College votes, and usher in the Biden presidency Jan. 20.
“(O)ur Constitution permits only a limited role for Congress in the presidential election process,” he said in a statement earlier Wednesday. “The 12th Amendment of the Constitution asserts that the role of Congress is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to decide which electors the states should have sent.”
In his own tweet later in the day, Stauber, a retired Duluth police officer, asked for prayers for the Capitol Police, overrun by the insurrectionists storming the Capitol Building.
Please pray for our very brave Capitol Police and our great nation. This is the People's House, but we as a nation MUST respect law and order.— Pete Stauber (@RepPeteStauber) January 6, 2021
Stauber had left the House chamber after an Arizona representative had contested the state’s Electoral College votes. He was in his office watching the House debate on television and getting legislative work done when he received the alert to take shelter on his phone.
He never encountered any of the people overtaking the Capitol.
“There are no excuses for this type of behavior,” he said. “We’ve seen this behavior for the last seven, eight months across this nation. We’ve seen it in Seattle, we saw it in Minneapolis — Minneapolis burned down. We saw it in Chicago, New York and other major cities. It’s simply unacceptable. This is un-American. We will support and we will always support the First Amendment to peacefully protest. This was not that. This was simply unacceptable.”