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Maryland politicians decry violence at U.S. Capitol; lieutenant governor says president committed an ‘impeachable offense’

Maryland’s Republican lieutenant governor called GOP President Donald Trump’s incitement of violence at the U.S. Capitol that left at least one person dead an “impeachable offense.”

As pictures of people, many of them wearing Trump apparel, storming into the U.S. Capitol building splashed repeatedly across television screens Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford tweeted: “Impeachable offense to incite violence as @realDonaldTrump has done.”

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Rutherford was among a chorus of Maryland elected officials to swiftly condemn the violence that led to the evacuation of members of Congress, employees and journalists from the Capitol. The breaching of the Capitol put on hold the official acceptance of the Electoral College votes, which was underway at the time.

The Associated Press reported that a woman who was shot inside the Capitol during the violence died. The Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.

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Gov. Larry Hogan said he was sending state troopers and members of the Maryland National Guard to help in the nation’s capital.

“All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation’s Capitol,” said Hogan, a Republican, in a statement. “This is a heinous and violent assault on the heart of our democracy. I will not stand for this, and neither should any American.”

The governor did not make any remarks addressing the president directly.

Hogan did not vote for Trump, instead choosing to write in the late Ronald Reagan in November. Also, the governor was quick to congratulate Democrat Joe Biden on his presidential victory, and called on fellow Republicans to respect the results of the election.

Michael Steele, a former Maryland Republican lieutenant governor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, laid blame squarely on the president. In an all-caps message on Twitter, Steele wrote: “YOU @realDonaldTrump OWN EVERY BIT OF THIS. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL OF IT.”

Steele broke with Trump months ago, joining the Lincoln Project in campaigning against the president and voting for Biden.

Others had sharp words for the mob at the Capitol.

“This is what white supremacy looks like,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement.

Scott, a Democrat, said the president’s “policies, actions and inactions have terrorized Black and Brown people across this country over the last four years. He has consistently stoked his base to act in hate.”

Del. Vanessa Atterbeary noted the disparate treatment of this group compared with demonstrators who have rallied in support of racial justice, too often facing violence from police. Rioters appeared to easily overwhelm law enforcement when entering the building.

If those taking over the Capitol were people of color, the Howard County Democrat tweeted, “they would be shot dead.”

State Sen. William C. Smith Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat who served in Afghanistan in 2019 as a Navy intelligence officer, posted on Twitter: “This is insurrection. This is treasonous. These people are not patriots.”

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The Maryland Young Republicans condemned the violence in statement, saying: “Endangering the lives of lawmakers, as they attempt to carry out their constitutional responsibilities is not the American way, nor is it patriotic. Attacking the Capitol Police and federal property is criminal and should never be tolerated under any circumstances.”

One local Maryland politician continued to show support for Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s election. Del. Dan Cox, a Frederick County Republican, criticized Republican Vice President Mike Pence, apparently for not trying to halt the tally of Electoral College votes.

At 3:21 p.m., more than an hour after rioters breached the Capitol, Cox posted on Twitter: “Pence is a traitor.”

Another Maryland Republican official, David Bossie, said late Wednesday he was the victim of a hack when his Twitter account featured a cryptic message that seemed to support violent protesters. For a little less than an hour, Bossie’s account had a message with starry-eyed smiley-faces and the words “thanks thanks for all of you.”

Bossie, who is a national committeeman for the Maryland GOP and a former Trump campaign official, said his account was hacked and he was locked out. Once he regained control, he deleted the post.

In a later tweet, Bossie wrote: “I condemn the violence today at the U.S. Capitol. It has no place in our politics and the individuals responsible must be held accountable.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Bryn Stole contributed to this article.

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