On Jan. 6, CT Dems denounce ‘big lie,’ GOP calls for unity

The former president is no longer in office, but Democrats in Connecticut intend to make Donald Trump, and his continued false claims of voter fraud, a problem in state races here in 2022.

On the first anniversary of the uprising on Capitol Hill, the state’s elected Democrats recalled how their phones began to vibrate with the news that a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the building as Congress certified the 2020 election results and how they watched the situation unfold from afar. in horror.

But a year later, their focus is not so much on how January 6 unfolded, but on what they see as the failure of their Republican colleagues to loudly and forcefully denounce “The Big Lie” that the elections were stolen. including Democrats, including the chairman of the state party. Nancy DiNardo said during a virtual press conference Thursday.


Republicans are pushing forward rather than looking back, saying state residents care more about issues like health care, the economy and education. But Democrats want a full accounting, a litmus test, on two questions: Did Biden legitimately win the election? And will the Republican candidates condemn in clear terms Trump’s role in the siege?

“Maybe it shouldn’t serve as a litmus test in other states, but I think in a state like Connecticut it really should because I think our electorate is different and they see what happened that day and the days leading up to it, very differently. ”Said House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said “a lot” of Connecticut Republicans acknowledge that Joe Biden is president, but they have not been decisive that they believe he was elected fairly.

“I have not heard many Republican leaders say loud and clear that the 2020 elections were free and fair as we all know them to be, that the 2020 elections were legitimate and that Joe Biden won them legitimately,” Bronin said.

In a series of statements issued Thursday, Connecticut Republicans denounced the violence that occurred on Capitol Hill, but made little or no mention of Trump or his involvement. They accused Democrats of trying to further politicize the country.

“We should remember what happened on January 6 by bringing together political parties and elected officials, not perpetuating this divide,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said in a written statement.

Referring to the COVID-19 testing shortage affecting Connecticut and the country, Candelora said, “In a week in which residents had to wait hours for COVID testing, Democrats suddenly came out of hiding and they stumbled into embracing the kind of divisive rhetoric that our Speaker of the House of Representatives has often said should stay in Washington DC “

Instead, Connecticut lawmakers should focus on “addressing the mental health and education crisis among children and teachers or addressing public safety concerns in our neighborhoods,” he said. “Given this insincere campaign stunt today, residents will rightly wonder how serious the majority party is in unifying our state and developing balanced policies that will make it a better place to live for all.”

In a separate written statement, Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, and Senator Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, Deputy Leader, said: “We condemn the violence of January 6, 2021 in the United States. Stronger terms, just as we have continued to do so since the day it happened. “

Senators made a distinction between what happened on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021 and what happened outside the State Capitol in Hartford that same day, where lawmakers were sworn in on the first day of the legislative session “in a ceremony marked by unit . “

Two-thirds of Republican voters in the US still doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s election, according to a recent poll from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a point that will likely be on the minds of Republican candidates in Connecticut as They seek to overcome Democratic Majorities in the House of Representatives (97-54) and the Senate (23-13). Democrats also fill all Congressional and state offices in Connecticut.

“They know what the polls say. That is why the questions are so critical today because they are trying to figure out how I win a primary and then be eligible in November, so the comments are very good in the middle and lukewarm, “Ritter said.

On Thursday, Democrats specifically singled out Bob Stefanowksi, the Republican challenger to Governor Ned Lamont in 2018, who will likely run again in 2022, for refusing to condemn Trump for his role in the attack.

“We are asking the Republican Party and Bob Stefanowksi, who is the de facto leader, right now to step up and denounce Trump’s behavior and what the insurrection really represented and to really stand up for their country, not for the love of the Republican Party, or any party. Put your country first, ”said Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr., Democrat of Waterbury, president of the Black and Puerto Rican caucus.

When asked to respond to comments by phone, Stefanowski released an email statement Thursday.

“As we approach the first anniversary of the tragedy in our United States Capitol building, we can all agree that, whether in Washington, DC or Connecticut, violence is never the answer,” he said. “Each and every one of the people responsible for this tragedy must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

Biden “won the election more than a year ago,” he said. “It is time to move from division and hyperpartisanship and work together to provide the people of Connecticut with better public safety, a lower cost of living and a quality education for their children.”

julia.bergman@hearstmediact.com

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