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Kathy Castor: 'Grotesque Spectacle' For President To Incite Capitol Mob

Kathy Castor
Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media

Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor was in the House office building when the U.S. Capitol was stormed by a mob of pro-Trump extremists. Here's what she had to say.

Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor was in lockdown in the House office building when a pro-Trump mob assaulted the Capitol building. WUSF's Steve Newborn talked with her by telephone before the House reconvened Wednesday night to certify Joe Biden as president.

Castor: It was a grotesque spectacle, just shocking to see the President of the United States instigate a domestic terrorist attack on the capital of the United States.

Give our listeners a maybe just a brief description of what you saw what you heard.

Castor: So I was in my office as the alerts went off that they were evacuating one of the House office buildings, then was watching floor action when there was a disturbance. And you could not tell from the screens exactly what was happening, but they went into a quick recess. It was not clear at that time that this mob actually forced their way into the Capitol. I watched a little bit of Donald Trump continued to lie for hours and what a total disgrace he is, what an assault on the rule of law and this great democracy.

Did you ever expect it to reach the violent crescendo that it did? Was it surprising to you in any way?

Castor: It was surprising because it just a few months ago, when we had other protests here, and we routinely have protests in Washington, D.C., there is always adequate law enforcement on the grounds and it appeared today that they were just not prepared for this racist mob. And we're gonna have to get to the bottom of that. But still, I think it's shocking to the conscience that we have this president who continues with his lies and, you know, attacks the very heart of our democracy, which is a peaceful transition of power under our Constitution. And he's always thumbed his nose at the Constitution. But this was particularly egregious and I angry and I'm saddened by it still.

There's been talk about this being an impeachable offense. Do you think that might come up again in the House? Or are you inclined just to let the next 12 days pass as quickly as possible?

Castor: It's clearly impeachable, sedition, treason, undermining our rule of law. But the first order of business is to ensure that the electors of the Electoral College from each state are accepted here in the Congress. That is our primary duty. We intend to move forward with that. And then I think in the light of day, we will have a lot of debate over what is next over the next two weeks because unfortunately, I think, Trump will always put his personal interest over the interest of America. He will not be satisfied and he will continue with his unlawful, unhinged conduct. And impeachment or the 25th Amendment may be a remedy.

It's almost like something out of the Third World, right? You'd never expect to see it in this country.

Castor: Yeah, Trump's whole presidency has been something that certainly would never have made it into a novel. It's just unbelievable. But here at the end, what he's just focused on is destruction. He has to be the center of attention. And the Constitution in this country be damned. And he will go down in history as an utter disgrace.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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