Local supporters of President Donald Trump say there should be a greater emphasis on political unity going forward and an earnest effort to bring justice against those responsible for the damage following the violence and vandalism at the U.S. Capitol this week.
Kevin Burch, the past chairman of the board for the American Trucking Association and past president of Jet Express, attended Trump’s inauguration in 2017, sitting in a spot where Wednesday’s melee injured Capitol police.
The Republican, who also met with Trump during his presidency to discuss jobs and infrastructure, said he was appalled at the takeover of the Capitol and “distraught” as a result of the president’s subsequent “We love you; you’re very special” message to extremists, which he said set the wrong tone.
Burch said the president’s message should have been ‘You’ve got to cease and desist what you’re doing and what you’re doing now is not good and is not anything I support.” Mentioning how he should have won by a landslide “should not even have been discussed” by the president in the same address, he said.
By inciting the mob and then not working to quell its subsequent insurrection, Trump likely destroyed any chance he had of recapturing the presidency if he opts to run again in 2024, Burch said.
He ranks Wednesday’s rampage among other tragic American “where were you when” moments of his life, including President John F. Kennedy’s assassination , the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and the 9/11 attacks.
“It wasn’t just a rally,” he said. “It was just a terrible thing against Americans and the Capitol on sacred ground. It was a takeover.”
Burch said the 25th Amendment should not be used to remove Trump from office, as it likely would be too time consuming with so few days left of his presidency and the announcement that he would transition out Jan. 20.
Instead, “I would apply charges to those they can identify that stormed the Capitol,” he said.
Rodney Creech, a former Preble County Commissioner sworn in Jan. 3 as a state representative for Ohio’s 43rd District, said it was “disgusting” to watch the rally-turned-riot happen at the same place where he was four years ago watching Trump’s inauguration.
“I don’t know who it was that did it, I don’t know who was behind it, I just don’t support any efforts of any kind like that no matter which party’s supporters were behind it,” said Creech. “It was reckless, is what it was.”
Those who stormed the Capitol as part of the failed coup were in the minority when it comes to Trump supporters, Creech said.
“Just like few, it’s the small few that ruins it for many,” he said. “I support peaceful protests of any kind and I think we’ve seen a lot of destruction along the way. You see a lot of people that have good intentions and just a few people ruin it for everybody.”
Creech said he’s not sure what must come next other than genuine efforts at unity.
“We’re not going to get anywhere divided,” he said. “I think we need to work together and as a Republican state representative, I’m calling my fellow Democrat leaders and saying ‘What can I do to help you?’ To me, we all work for the same people.”
“Somehow, we need to come together and unite as a country and do what’s best for the people and stop serving ourselves. I think there’s so much self-service in politics and I’ve never supported it and I never will.”
Longtime Warren County Commissioner Dave Young, a Republican, said Wednesday’s events left him “disgusted” and that the scene itself was “sad” and the actions of individuals involved was “inherently Un-American.”
The only positive that I see of it is I think we have to hit bottom before we can turn a corner,” Young said. “That day was rock bottom.”
Young said if the Republican party is truly the party of personal responsibility, it cannot blame another group or deal in conspiracy theories.
“The young woman that was tragically shot was a hardcore Trump supporter,” he said. “That was not some Antifa person trying to break into the Capitol. I think that’s being lost on people (and) Republicans say ‘Oh, there’s no way that’s Republicans.’
Republicans, moving forward, should own up to the fact that Republicans, albeit a fraction of the thousands on hand for the president’s rally, comprised the group that “absolutely got whipped into a frenzy unnecessarily and did something really stupid.”
“Those people were wrong and I 100-percent blame the President for whipping up a lot of these things. When you say ‘Come to Washington. It’s going to be wild.’ You tell them to march down the Capitol and ‘I’ll join you there.’ I had people saying ‘He didn’t really say that.’ Yes, he did.
“Those are things that, as president, he should not do.”
Derrike Ramey, of Dayton, an area insurance agent who attended Trump’s 2017 inauguration, said Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol left him “pretty shocked.”
“I’m heartbroken over what happened,” he said.
Ramey said while he didn’t think the division in the United States could get worse, he’s “not at all surprised” given the clashes he witnessed at Trump’s inauguration and the poor leadership displayed by both political parties since then.
Ramey echoed Burch and Young’s sentiments, saying that he “definitely” believes that those who stormed the Capitol should be held liable.
“They should not have done this,” he said. “It’s not OK.”