Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks on the Senate floor on Thursday. (Senate TV)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that the “mob mentality” of Jan. 6, 2021, continues today on the one-year anniversary of the Capitol attack, and it “can become poison” if it’s allowed to fester.
“The warnings of history are clear. When democracies are in danger, it often starts with a mob. That’s what happened a year ago here in this building,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
“The mob can start out as a small number, but if it’s allowed to grow and leaders egg on the mob, encourage it, it can become poison. That is what Donald Trump is doing,” he said.
“The poisonous mob mentality lives on today in the threats against election workers, poll workers, even other public servants like school board members and health workers. This is what erodes a democracy,” Schumer said.
Schumer said that democracy is “stronger” than a mob, “as long as we speak out, as long as we act.”
Schumer also recounted his personal experience in the Capitol last year. He said he was “within 30 feet of these nasty, racist, bigoted insurrectionists,” adding he was told later that some made an anti-Semitic comment about him.
“And I saw something that I’ve been told later never happened before, the Confederate flag flying in this dear Capitol. That’s just one of many searing, grotesque images of that unimaginable, most un-American day,” he said.
Schumer urged others to “call it what it is” and speak the truth about the Jan. 6 attack.
“Too many, often depending on their allegiances, seem desperate to sweep the memory of Jan. 6 under the rug. Too many are working to rewrite the history of what happened, to downplay or excuse or even defend the mob, to excuse an insurrection of this very Capitol. … We have an obligation not to let that happen, because history shows us when you ignore or paint over this kind of violent action, it will recur often in worse form than it had originally,” Schumer said.
Schumer called on lawmakers to pass voting rights legislation as localities put voter restrictions into place.
“Just as the big lie inspired the attack of Jan. 6, the big lie continues like a disease across state legislatures throughout the country, where we’re seeing the most restrictive voter suppression efforts since Jim Crow, since Jim Crow, in 21st-century America, turning the clock way back,” he said.