The three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation were unharmed after Wednesday’s invasion of the U.S. Capitol by violent supporters of President Donald Trump hoping to overturn his electoral defeat in the presidential election.
As they returned to a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday evening, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said he was prepared to vote to accept the victory of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
“I want to thank the courageous work of our law enforcement officers today, including the Capitol police, some of whom were injured. I also want to thank the many Alaskans who reached out to make sure my team and I were safe,” he said in a prepared statement.
“The violence that transpired today in the U.S. Capitol building was a disgrace and will go down as one of the sadder and more dispiriting days in our country’s history. But those who chose violence in order to disrupt our constitutional duties will not have the last word. We need to go back to the Senate chamber tonight to finish the important work of the Congress in counting the Electoral College vote. This will ensure that an orderly transition of power—one of the most sacred hallmarks of our great constitutional republic — takes place on January 20,” he said.
“Today, the world witnessed our Capitol under siege. Tonight, they will witness the resiliency of America’s democracy,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the delegation denounced the violence, releasing prepared statements after they were evacuated away from the mob and to secure locations.
“The dangerous destructive activity at the Capitol is continuing to unfold. I, along with other members of the Senate, are secure but the situation is clearly not safe. It is truly mob rule at the moment,” said U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in a prepared statement on social media.
“My prayers are with the officers that are protecting and defending and who have gone down. Mr. President, tell your supporters to stop the violence. Stop the assault. Now,” Murkowski said.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said in a prepared statement, “Peaceful protest is fundamentally American, but violence must never be tolerated. I call on protestors to comply with Capitol Police, stand down, and leave the Capitol Building so that our Constitutional duties may resume.”
Also in a prepared statement, Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he is “deeply saddened & appalled to see the violence at the U.S. Capitol today. Acts of violence have no place in our great country. Republicans are the party of law & order. These few extremists do not represent our values.”
State Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, was present at pro-Trump events that preceded the riot and told Alaska Public Media reporter Liz Ruskin in D.C. that he had met “maybe 40-50 Alaskans who came to protest the vote.”
In a later phone interview after Capitol Police had cleared the building, Eastman said he listened to Trump speak near the White House but didn’t see more than “a whole lot of people.”
He said he did not approach the Capitol and said the invasion was “pretty terrible.”
Asked whether the rioters were correct to enter the building, he said, “No, I think that’s a terrible idea no matter how you slice or dice that.”
Eastman is believed to be the only member of the Alaska Legislature in attendance.
Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, said that as she watched events unfold on the news, she received multiple calls from constituents asking whether Eastman could be expelled from the Alaska Legislature “for what they consider treasonous behavior.”
“No,” Hannan said. “He has the right of free association, free movement, free speech. If his picture shows up having breached and vandalized the Capitol buildings ... then I think there should be repercussions, but as far as his right to protest, that’s an American’s right.”