Moulton: Jan. 6 riot, speaker votes represent thread of ‘tremendous divides’ in U.S.

This week's chaotic House speaker votes share some themes with Jan. 6, but the two shouldn't be equated, Moulton said.

John Locher
During a Friday appearance on "Radio Boston," Rep. Seth Moulton reflected on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the chaotic House speaker votes.

Two years after former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Congress is once again in disarray — this time amid a chaotic series of votes to choose a speaker of the House of Representatives. 

The events share a common thread, according to U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, but the Salem Democrat was careful to emphasize that the two should not be equated.

“What we’re seeing today is chaos within a party, but it is part of the democratic process,” Moulton said during an appearance on “Radio Boston” Friday. “It’s representative of the tremendous divides in our country, and it’s representative of the right-wing fashion of conservatives in America, Republicans in America who are trying to take down this government.”

Capitol Hill

Host Tiziana Dearing began the segment by playing audio from the 2021 riot, asking Moulton how he felt hearing it two years later. 


“It hits home, not just because I was here, but because I love our country, and this was one of the worst days in American history,” Moulton replied. 

“We’ve had other days that will live in infamy, like President [Franklin] Roosevelt famously said about Pearl Harbor in 1941,” he continued. “We remember the Civil War, when our country was under attack by an organized army. But never before has our democracy been assaulted by the very leader that we elected. That’s how dangerous Jan. 6 was for our country, and it still hurts.”

Moulton said he was initially optimistic following the attack, recalling a bipartisan consensus that lawmakers must come together to prevent a repeat. Just one year later, though, he said most of that consensus had evaporated. 

“Republicans changed their tune,” Moulton said. “They wanted to deny what happened. They wanted to protect and defend the people who had assaulted our democracy, and most of all, they wanted to protect and defend the president who had instigated it all.” 

He acknowledged some progress in the form of prosecutions, the House Jan. 6 committee, and the Electoral Count Reform Act, which reforms and modernizes the process for casting and counting electoral votes. 


However, Moulton said he believes the U.S. Department of Justice should act on the Jan. 6 committee’s criminal referral for Trump. Addressing potential destabilization if the DOJ does opt to prosecute Trump, he said it’s a risk worth taking. 

“We cannot just think about the past as we memorialize Jan. 6,” Moulton said. “We must think about the country that we’re leaving for our children, the country of the future, the America that must endure that can never have Jan. 6 happen again.”


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