Politics

What Charlie Baker and other Mass. lawmakers are saying about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot anniversary

"Every citizen, and most importantly every public official, must safeguard that system so that motto always rings true."

The Capitol Building at sunrise Thursday. Al Drago / The New York Times

In the hours after last year’s Jan. 6 riot by Donald Trump supporters at the Capitol, Gov. Charlie Baker put the blame for the violence squarely at the feet of the now-former president and fellow Republican.

One year later, Baker says the day will “forever” live in infamy.

Calling it a “despicable attempt” by Trump and his allies to “undo what generations of Americans fought and died for,” the Massachusetts governor said the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election will “stain this nation’s history forever.”

Baker went on to thank Capitol Police and other law enforcement officials for stepping into the violence and eventually restoring order.

Advertisement:

After initially incorrectly saying that Capitol Police officer and North Adams native William Evans, who was killed in April when a car rammed into his barricade, “lost his life that day,” Baker amended his statement Thursday to say that Evans was among the officers who “lost his life protecting the Capitol last year.” Five other Capitol Police officers also died in the wake of the attack, including four who died by suicide; four members of the pro-Trump crowd also died that day.

Baker added that citizens “across the country” helped turn away forces “threatening the democratic process and saw through a fair, transparent election for the most powerful office in the world.”

“Out of many, one, our nation’s motto is still an apt description of America’s system of government, but just as those patriots who fought to secure the right to self govern did, every citizen, and most importantly every public official, must safeguard that system so that motto always rings true,” he said.

Some Massachusetts lawmakers say the threat to democracy hasn’t ceased.

In a speech Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed to states across the country where “Republican legislatures have passed laws making it harder to vote.”

Advertisement:

“Just as the former President was clear that he wanted to overturn the results of the election, Trump and his allies are entirely transparent about their goal of overturning future elections,” Warren said. “Today, Republican opponents of democracy are exploiting every possible avenue to allow their party to maintain control — even if that means overruling the will of the American people.”

In a Boston Globe essay, Rep. Jim McGovern, a Worcester Democrat who was at the center of the Jan. 6 chaos last year, wrote that the “coup is still underway.” McGovern pointed to the enactment last year of at least 34 laws with provisions restricting voting rights in 19 states.

“Those who manufactured the crusade to steal the 2020 election know how and why they failed,” McGovern wrote Wednesday. “They are laying the groundwork to overturn the next election successfully.”

The anniversary comes as Senate Democrats consider changing the chamber’s filibuster rules to allow voting rights bills to pass with a simple majority.

“My view on this is simple,” Warren said Wednesday. “We did not swear an oath to protect a procedural rule like the filibuster, which has been a tool of racial segregation and Jim Crow. We swore an oath to defend the Constitution. When Senate rules stand in the way of voting rights legislation, those rules must change.”

Advertisement:

Rep. Katherine Clark, a Revere Democrat and assistant House speaker, echoed that call in a Newsweek op-ed, saying the way to respond to the Jan. 6 attack is to “abolish the filibuster,” which she said has been “weaponized” against voting rights,” as it’s changed from an individual stalling tactic to “a routine, 60-vote supermajority requirement for almost every piece of legislation.”

“The Capitol building has been repaired,” Clark wrote Thursday. “But the threats we face are as real now as they were a year ago.”

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com