Rep. Michael Waltz, a combat-decorated veteran and Green Beret who has served in the Middle East, said Thursday that political disputes are met with fighting in the streets there, but that should never happen in the United States.
“That’s not how America operates,” the Florida Republican said Thursday on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” while responding to the violence in the halls of the Capitol the day before. “That’s not our democracy.”
Waltz said he was on the Capitol floor when the “thugs” that stormed the building started to break in. “We were debating the constitutional issues that are still out there, and still need to be resolved with many of these states, but we were debating them through discussion,” he said. “I have said repeatedly if we are yelling at each other, not fighting with each other in the street, then that’s what our democracy is all about.”
He said the “busloads of great Americans and (Donald) Trump supporters,” many of whom visited him in his office, were coming into the capital to protest peacefully.
“Florida had some major election issues, and we fixed them,” Waltz said. “Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, they need to fix these problems going forward. Democracy only works if everyone has confidence in the system.”
He said he condemns the violence across the board, but at the same time, “we can’t shrug our shoulders and pretend these problems still don’t exist for future elections. We need to have a peaceful transfer of power and I’m very pleased to hear the president repeat that. But this is for future elections going forward and the confidence of everyone that their voice will be heard.”
Waltz added when the melee started, members of Congress were “scared” and even breaking legs off furniture to “use as a weapon to defend ourselves. Others were barricading. Some of us are a little more fit. I have combat experience. And we were — I was ready to defend the other members as they evacuated down the stairwell.”
He also accused some protesters of “hypocrisy” for carrying “blue line” flags that are used in support of law enforcement while committing acts of violence.
Waltz said he’s still emotional and upset because the rioting undercut the “great work, veterans reform” and more that has been accomplished over the last four years.
“That’s what the legacy is going to be,” he said. “I think that’s really sad and a shame.”