Al Lawson talks U.S. Capitol storming, Inauguration Day and potential protests
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Congressman Al Lawson spoke to WCTV about potential protests surrounding Inauguration Day and his personal experience of the U.S. Capitol storming.
Below, you’ll find the transcribed version of the interview between WCTV’s Michael Hudak and Congressman Lawson.
QUESTION 1: How would you describe the day and night of the Capitol storming for you?
LAWSON: Well it was almost incomprehensible. You couldn’t visualize this happening when you came in the morning and said hello to everyone. And all of a sudden you get an announcement that you need to run, get to the tunnels, we’re being taken over. It was indescribable. You really thought someone was playing a joke at first. In four years, it was always just a formality. We knew we had to vote in groups because of the pandemic – they didn’t want all of us on the floor.
One lady told me, who had just got to Congress, that ‘I’ve been to a campaign and everything, I didn’t come up here to get killed. Not at the capital.’ I said ‘Look here. Calm down. Let’s move.’
QUESTION 2: What went through your heart and your mind after hearing what Trump said that day?
LAWSON: No one really thought… We have marches all the time in DC… that they would be coming to take over the Capitol. I mean, that was unheard of. He said ‘I’ll join y’all down there later.’ But he did not come. So as a result, what was going through my mind … Trump doing the same thing he normally does. But it really wasn’t. This was going to really be the big event. They wanted to interrupt the electoral college vote counting.
QUESTION 3: You said that possibly some of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle may have opened that proverbial door for the insurrection that took place on Jan. 6. What goes through your mind when you think of those possible conspiracies that may be true?
LAWSON: After this investigation is done, they’re going to have to explain themselves, or they should be expelled from Congress if they were involved in it. They were so concerned with the electoral count, which is supposed to be a formality with the vice president. They even put the vice president’s life in danger.
QUESTION 4: Moving forward, do you feel safe, confident and secure inside your workplace: the U.S. Capitol?
LAWSON: I feel safe, but you start looking at people in general because you really don’t know. You try to move around in groups. It’s a long walk in those tunnels from place to place. It used to be a train, but even the train wasn’t working. As a result, you just don’t really know what’s going on. They tell you don’t leave your office, make sure your office is secure, and no more than one other staff person in the office with you. So the other staffers had to go and be secure and safe themselves.
QUESTION 5: You’ve been vocal about President Trump’s impeachment — can you reiterate why you voted in favor of impeachment?
LAWSON: It was the right thing to do because he failed to protect the American Capitol. It’s just unheard of. He wouldn’t call reinforcements until the last minute. We reached out to him and said what these people are doing… People lost their lives, and their blood is on his hands. It’s just unheard of that the President of the United States who took the oath of office to defend you from domestic violence and everything else — it did not happen.
QUESTION 6: Are you concerned at all about the safety and security of those in DC in this upcoming week?
LAWSON: Really, I’m not. I don’t think anyone will be able to get close, within 5 miles to the inauguration. At the same time, there’s more than 15,000 to 20,000 National Guard there. You have Maryland Police, Virginia Police, and Washington D.C. Police officers on hand. How we get there is the issue. How you get to the inauguration is going to be a big issue, but they’re working on it.
QUESTION 7: What is your message to the people of Florida as these potential threats to the State Capitol surface?
LAWSON: I saw one of the Capitol Police officers and one of the senators yesterday, and the police officer told me the Capitol Police Office here said it’s on high alert. I’m planning on calling the governor today to make sure that people are going to be protected here if anything were to happen here. Also communicate, which I think they already communicated with, the police chief and sheriff here.
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