ATLANTA — Georgia’s top state officials gathered on Wednesday to condemn the violence overtaking the U.S. Capitol and call on President Donald Trump to respond with stronger action.
In Washington on Wednesday, supporters of Trump breached security and ravaged the hallways and offices in search of evacuated lawmakers who were in the beginning stages of formally accepting states' Electoral College votes.
One person was shot and killed.
Gov. Brian Kemp, flanked by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston, all Republicans, warned that that kind of behavior will not be tolerated in Georgia.
"It is unimaginable that we have people in our state, in our country, that have been threatening to police officers, breaking into government buildings,” Kemp said Wednesday evening. "This is not the Georgia way, and it is not the way of our country. An individual being shot during the middle of these activities … is unimaginable.”
Kemp had faced demands that he call a special session of the legislature ahead of the U.S. Senate runoffs on Tuesday to address Republican concerns about the general election in November.
The scene in Washington, he said, could have easily been at the state Capitol if that session were called.
“Now you can see what that would have looked like,” he said.
Duncan slammed Trump's response to the violence.
“Today is an incredibly sobering reminder of how delicate our democracy truly is. It is also a reminder of how dangerous it is for people in power to act as if they're more important than that democracy,” he said.
Duncan called on Trump to tell his supporters, with complete clarity, to leave peacefully and let the Electoral College vote counting proceed.
Ralston labeled the images of the vandalized and occupied Capitol “shocking" and the actions of the rioters “indefensible, un-American and frankly heartbreaking.”
"Whether your candidate wins or loses an election is no reason to jeopardize the safety of your fellow citizens,” he said.
In an attempt to keep violence from the state Capitol, Kemp announced he will renew an executive order that activates the Georgia National Guard through Monday. Kemp reminded Peach State residents that during the summer there were protests against social injustice that were peaceful.
“We certainly would not allow anarchy,” he warned.
Riley Bunch covers the Georgia statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites.