Congresswoman Ashley Hinson was asked a few questions about President Donald J. Trump and the protest that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during her weekly press call.
Hinson, who said she will be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden next week, reiterated that the violence at the Capitol was “unacceptable” and that those involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“Several of the people who did go too far last week have been arrested and charged and that’s exactly what should be happening,” she said.
The reporter from Iowa Public Radio mentioned that Iowans were among the crowd who “stormed the Capitol.” Then she mentioned one Iowan by name in her question as well as the chair of the Henry County GOP who warned Iowans should arm themselves for the upcoming civil war between Democrats and Republicans. The reporter asked if the Republican Party should be holding “these people” accountable or if they should be welcomed back.
Hinson said she had a group of Iowans meet with her on their visit to D.C. leading up to the Capitol protest on Jan. 6.
“As far as I’m concerned, my interaction with Gary was when I saw him in my office,” Hinson said. “He was there to support the President.”
As for culpability, Hinson said she thinks everyone understands the “power of words.”
“While I support the First Amendment, I do agree that, for instance, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater,” Hinson said. “And I do believe if people are unhappy with the actions they saw from their leadership they need to hold them accountable.”
The Iowa Public Radio reporter followed up by saying she understands there’s a difference between some being violent and entering the Capitol but added the underlying message of the rally was to stall the certification of votes that were upheld by states and local officials and numerous court rulings.
“For all of those Iowans who were supportive of that event, do you think that that sentiment needs to be reckoned with in the Party,” the Iowa Public Radio reporter asked.
Hinson said she went back to work and wasn’t going to let the protest stall her from working on behalf of her district.
“Ultimately I still respect the First Amendment and I think everybody on this call does,” Hinson said. “I’m a former journalist myself. I believe that everybody has the right to stand up for what they believe in, but the people who took it too far should definitely be punished.”
Another reporter asked Hinson to explain her vote against impeachment while she has publicly criticized President Trump for his words and actions.
“I thought impeachment was the wrong path,” Hinson said. “Speaker Pelosi bypassed regular order. We didn’t have a single committee hearing on it. We didn’t have any preliminary votes that are typically involved in this process. It was done in a rush job toward a second impeachment of the President.”
Hinson noted that President Trump committed to a peaceful transition of power and with less than week until the new administration takes over, the impeachment violated due process and regular order while fanning the flames.
“This is not the kind of leadership we need right now,” she said. “It further divided our nation and I think we need to refocus on moving our country forward.”
The final question was whether she would have supported censuring President Trump.
“Well I haven’t seen any language for it,” Hinson said. “At this point, the president clearly realizes he’s been culpable for his actions. We’re seeing cabinet secretaries resign, so at this point, I can’t tell you if I would’ve or not.”