GR US

Greek-American Elected Officials Respond to Storming of U.S. Capitol

Αssociated Press

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON, DC – Greek-American Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and John Sarbanes were among those who posted on social media during the unprecedented events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL) began by announcing that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and then shared an update on his staff. Rep. Sarbanes (D-MD) assured his followers on Twitter that he and his colleagues will continue to carry out their Constitutional duties. Their comments and those of the other Greek-Americans in Congress as well as other elected officials and concerned community leaders are included below.

Rep. Bilirakis posted on Twitter: “I tested positive for COVID-19 this morning, and as such, will not be on the House Floor for today’s debate. In accordance with CDC guidelines and upon the advice of the House Physician, I am in quarantine.

My staff has been told to shelter in place for their safety, and I am watching the scene at the Capitol unfold. While I support the Constitutionally-protected right for peaceful protest, some of the images I am seeing on the news do not constitute a peaceful demonstration.

These unruly behaviors are completely unacceptable and place law enforcement and countless individuals in harm’s way.”

Rep. Sarbanes posted: “Today’s rhetoric from President Trump and the violent actions of his supporters struck at the heart of our democracy. I am safe. The Capitol is now secure. My colleagues and I will continue to carry out our Constitutional duties and finish counting the Electoral College votes.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted: “As I shelter in place, lawless domestic terrorists encouraged by the President of the United States are attempting to destroy our democracy. They will not succeed.”

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) posted: “Evacuated our office and was told by Capitol police outside to get as far away from the complex as I safely could. The atmosphere outside the Capitol is highly, highly charged, and we all know exactly why. I hope to get back as soon as I can to confirm the election results.”

Newly sworn in Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis tweeted early on in the ordeal, “My staff and I are safe and have been brought to a secure location by the Capitol Police. Everyone who is responsible for this violence and lawlessness must stop. This is absolutely unacceptable and un-American.”

Rep. Malliotakis later posted: “Thank you to the @CapitolPolice and all law enforcement for all they are doing to restore order at the Capitol and to keep us safe. I condemn in the strongest terms those who are participating in violence and lawlessness. They must be arrested and prosecuted!”

Philhellene Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and founder and Co-Chair of the House Caucus on Hellenic Issues, posted a video in response to the situation at the Capitol and then later posted: “Tonight, once it is safe to do so, the Congress will resume our sacred responsibility to certify the results of the Electoral College and confirm Joe Biden as the next President and Kamala Harris as the next Vice President. Our duty to do so has never been so clear.”

New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris posted: “Every single Senator and member of Congress objecting to the election results is encouraging this behavior. Don’t forget their names.”

Sen. Gianaris later posted, “Remember when curfew violations were an excuse for mass arrests?” adding a link to a June 5, 2020 article titled “NYPD Gets Tough on George Floyd Protesters Defying Curfew.”

New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides posted: “Law and order when it suits him. This is a national disgrace that we cannot have a peaceful transfer of power. Shame on those who enable this nonsense.”

Alexi Giannoulias, a Greek-American financier and politician who served as Illinois Treasurer from 2007 to 2011, also posted on Twitter calling for the president to be removed from office: “Today we witnessed the president instigate a violent coup. Congress members quoted Adolf Hitler. Remember their names. Remember their actions. Never forget: this is sedition, and there MUST be consequences. The President must be removed from office NOW.” 

Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, posted: “What we are witnessing is not “America First” - it is decidedly un American.

George Washington gave up the Presidency after two terms, John Adams peacefully transitioned to Thomas Jefferson after the most bitter of elections. Al Gore accepted a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling.”