ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Democratic Party called for the resignation of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris on Thursday, stating he was “complicit” in the violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, but the Republican lawmaker said his concerns over voter fraud weren’t seditious.
A statement from Democratic chair Yvette Lewis accused Harris, R-Md., and other Republican members of Congress of inciting the attempted insurrection Wednesday after using “inflammatory rhetoric and blatant falsehoods” regarding the presidential election results.
Lewis said Harris’ conduct was “a disgrace…to all the people of Maryland.” She said Harris should resign immediately.
“Representative Harris’ actions have been nothing short of an attack on our democracy, a betrayal of those who he represents, and an attempt to overturn a legitimate election in favor of a wannabe authoritarian,” Lewis said.
Harris said he would not resign. He was the only Maryland lawmaker to join more than 100 Republican House members who voted to contest the election results after the mob was cleared and Congress reconvened to confirm Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
A statement from Harris said his concerns over voter fraud were “legitimate Constitutional concerns” and he “felt compelled to highlight those concerns during the formal vote count.”
“We did not call for the overthrowing of an election,” Harris said.
Protesters were urged by Trump during a rally near the White House earlier Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm Biden’s presidential victory. The Capitol siege by the mob left five dead, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.
Harris said he rejects “violent protests, whether in the case of yesterday, or last summer,” referring to police brutality and social justice demonstrations after the death of George Floyd.
Lewis condemned Harris’ response, stating, “despite seeing the destruction and harm his falsehoods have wrought, Representative Harris continued to legitimize and fuel the attempted insurrection.”
“It definitely got out of hand,” Harris told WBAL. “But again, people are very discouraged, they’re disappointed. The country is polarized.”
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