WASHINGTON, D.C. — South Dakota's three-man Congressional delegation were moved to a safe and in a secure location after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 6, and later condemned the assault.
"Well I'm safe," said Johnson in an audio recording sent to Forum News Service. "but it has been hard to see the United States Capitol overrun by people who crave violence. The Capitol police are doing everything they can, but they are overrun. This is just a terrible situation. Too many people have been sowing the seeds of anger and division and this is what we get because of that. This is the tragic harvest, and it needs to stop."
A mob supporting President Donald Trump broke through a police barricade and entered the Capitol building earlier in the afternoon on Wednesday, disrupting Congress' Electoral College certification for former Vice President Joe Biden as president. It wasn't clear when Congress would again consider the Electoral College votes.
Too many have sown the seeds of anger and division. This is its tragic harvest. This needs to stop.— Rep. Dusty Johnson (@RepDustyJohnson) January 6, 2021
Rounds issued a statement on the day's events late Wednesday afternoon.
"As a nation, we should stand together in opposition to the violent acts and lawlessness that occurred at the U.S. Capitol today," he said. "Violence and destruction are never the answer. We are better than this, and it's past time for cooler heads to prevail. I continue to pray for our great country."
A number of state leaders and political party officials also weighed in on the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
"We are all entitled to peacefully protest. Violence is not a part of that. What’s happening in the Capitol right now must stop," said South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, in a tweet.
We are all entitled to peacefully protest. Violence is not a part of that. What’s happening in the Capitol right now must stop.— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) January 6, 2021
In an emailed statement, Randy Seiler, chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party said, "The disinformation and hatred that was spread by our president has today revealed itself to be the greatest threat to democracy."
Seiler also contrasted Trump's words at a noon-hour rally, when he continued to spread mistruths about the fairness of the election, with those of President-elect Biden who condemned the siege at the Capitol, saying the president-elect provided "leadership we so desperately need right now."
In a post to social media, Dan Lederman, chairman of the South Dakota GOP, also condemned the violence at the Capitol.
"It is shameful thuggery," Lederman wrote. "This needs to stop."
Johnson and Sen. John Thune had signaled on Wednesday their intent to certify the results, citing their constitutional duties in refusing to join a push by some fellow Republican members to obstruct the counting based on erroneous claims of voting irregularities in the November presidential election.
While Rounds had not explicitly stated whether he'd vote to certify the results, he had issued a statement Tuesday evening citing his interest in an independent investigation of the election results. In December, he had told Politico, "Vice President Biden is the president-elect based on the electoral count."
Last month, a group of conservative South Dakota state lawmakers signed a letter to the congressional delegation calling for an audit of the presidential election based upon debunked theories purporting election irregularities.
On Wednesday, reached by Forum News Service, the letter's lead author, Rep. Elizabeth May of Kyle, said she condemned the mob violence in Washington, D.C. Pushed whether Congress should certify the Electoral College results today, something lawmakers say they intend to do, May demurred.
"Well, I'm not up-to-date," May said. "I can't make a comment on that. But the process needs to work its way through."
South Dakota's outgoing Speaker of the House Steven Haugaard, a Sioux Falls Republican who signed the letter and attended a protest airing election falsehoods in Sioux Falls over the weekend, was also reached by Forum News Service but declined any comment.
"I really haven't followed the news enough to know what's going on there," Haugaard said. "I heard something about some issue in Washington. But not enough to make a comment."