Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Upton: Trump Inspired Capitol Attack

Anna Moneymaker
AP Photo

West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton says President Donald Trump is responsible for the mob that violently attacked the Capitol Building on Wednesday, January 6.

Trump appeared at a rally earlier in Washington where he said he would never concede that he did not win the November presidential election. Upton says: “I watched the president’s speech that he gave on the Elipse to the big crowd yesterday morning and felt that he did inspire the crowd to charge the Capitol.”

The St. Joseph Republican says Trump’s intentions were clear. "From the get-go, the president was looking, I think, to see something like this happen. Tragically, four people died,” he says in a morning phone interview with WMUK 102.1 FM on Thursday, Jan 7.

The dead include a woman shot by Capitol Police inside the building. Three others died after medical emergencies outside. (Update 1/8/21: A Capitol police officer dies from injuries sustained from "physically engaging with protesters".)

Listen to the full interview (1/7/21)

“We’re a democracy. We can have issues with each other, but that ought to be a debate and vote. We shouldn’t resort to fists or explosives.”

Some Democrats and Republicans in Congress have questioned why tear gas wasn’t used more widely on Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol. Upton was asked why police used it freely on Black Lives Matter protesters who demonstrated near the Capitol last year, but not on the mostly white mob that attacked Congress. Some African-Americans have taken to social media to say that’s unequal treatment. And Upton says he’s sympathetic.

“And that’s why we need justice reform. That’s one of the reasons I participated in a number of peaceful marches here in Michigan in favor of Black Lives Matter. And I’m hopeful and encouraged that we’ll see legislation move forward that, in essence, got stalled because of differences between the House and Senate this last year.”

Capitol police did use tear gas inside the Capitol but not on the crowd outside.