Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday condemned the insurrection that broke out at the nation’s capital this week, calling it a tragic day for America.
During a press briefing tied to his new budget, Montana’s new Republican governor said he was shaken by what played out over the television. Gianforte served four years in Congress before being elected governor, and many of the scenes were familiar to him, he said.
“I saw very familiar sights as the Capitol was stormed,” he said. “I was texting with former colleagues in the House. Some of them were on the floor at the time. It was jarring. I was thankful Congress reconvened and ratified the election. It’s time to move on.”
U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Thursday said a non-scalable fence would be erected around the entire capital and remain in place for no less than 30 days, which extends beyond President-elect Joe Biden’s pending inauguration.
Trump supporters also held rallies across Montana, though there were no reports of violence. Gianforte said he felt safe in the state Capitol. Protests from any side must remain peaceful, he said.
“Our US Capitol was under siege. Our very democracy was under siege,” he said. “Law enforcement officers and the brave men and women of the Capitol police were under siege. Lawmakers, staff and members of the press were under siege.”
Gianforte said President Trump could have taken a stronger tone to end the violence. He stopped short of blaming the insurrection on the president.
“I was pleased the president said go home,” he said. “But there could have been a stronger statement made there.”