Trump protest

Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said President Donald Trump should be removed from office after an insurrection by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday while electoral votes were being counted.

“This was a free and fair election — the hallmark of our democracy — in which the voters selected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be our president and vice president,” the Oregon Democrat said on Twitter. “Donald Trump must be removed from office before he can cause any further destruction.”

Bonamici, who represents the North Coast, said she would support impeaching the Republican president.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley also support Trump’s removal or impeachment.

“As I said last night Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy,” Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said on Twitter. “His Cabinet must use the 25th Amendment to act. And if Mike Pence and Trump’s ‘see-no-evil’ Cabinet don’t have the stomach to do their duty, Congress should reconvene to impeach this dangerous man.”

Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, said on Twitter that “Trump is absolutely unfit and should be removed from office. If we can do it by Jan. 20 by impeachment, I am all for it. The Cabinet and VP can and should invoke the 25th Amendment TODAY. And there should be criminal investigations and prosecutions. Justice demands accountability.”

Democrats, and many Republicans, blamed Trump for inciting his supporters before they marched to the Capitol and forced their way into the building.

Despite the unprecedented disruption to the vote count, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate returned and formally sealed former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory.

Wyden, Merkley, Bonamici and the other Oregon Democrats — U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader — voted against Republican objections to the electoral votes for Biden from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Oregon’s wild card was U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, the only Republican in the state’s delegation to Congress, and a freshman who had only been sworn into office on Sunday.

Bentz had been among a group of incoming Republican lawmakers who issued a statement last month calling for “a congressional investigation and review into what has happened in states where election irregularities have been observed.”

In the end, Bentz split his votes. He opposed the Republican objection to the electoral votes sent by Arizona. But he sided with Republicans objecting to the electoral votes from Pennsylvania.

In a press release, Bentz said the issues in each case were different, but his constituents believed the election was tainted by unspecified fraud. “My goal was to protect the integrity of our elections and to prompt all states to uphold election laws as determined by their state legislatures — all in accordance with our Constitution,” the congressman said.

Lisa Lamping, the chairwoman of the Clatsop County Republican Party, traveled to Washington, D.C., to join Trump supporters at the protest on Wednesday.

She said she does not believe Trump is responsible for inciting the insurrection.

“Trump is not a perfect person, but I don’t believe that he wanted this to happen,” said Lamping, a photographer and businesswoman involved with Clatsop News, a community news website. “I’m not a conspiracy person ... but sometimes things just don’t feel right. It’s too easy, too convenient to always blame President Trump for everything. And I think it’s a concerted effort of people to create a narrative and then find ways to support it.

“I went and heard the rally, I listened to him speak and I don’t believe he condoned anything like this.”

Lamping joined the crowd that went to the Capitol after the president instructed them to protest what he described as a stolen election.

She said when they got to the Capitol, it was easy for protesters to get up to the building and eventually make entry. Lamping said she, like most, protested outside.

“I was proud of everything except for the breaking in,” Lamping said. “Once they broke in, that was taking it a step too far.”

On Facebook the day of the riot, Lamping blamed some of the violence and vandalism at the Capitol on antifa, a far-left movement involved with protests against fascism, racism and police brutality that have at times turned violent. When asked by The Astorian if she had evidence for her claims, she said she did not.

“What I think has happened is that they were there, these people stirred up the pot and there were some Trump people that were amped up. There’s some young guys that come in there and they’re all brawn and no brain,” she said.

Lamping said she traveled to Washington, D.C., because she thinks the country is at a serious turning point and believes it was important to take a stand. “I think it was time for us to make a statement to say, ‘Look, you can’t just dismiss our feelings and our views and our perspectives on life,” she said.

Gary Warner of the Oregon Capital Bureau contributed to this report.

Nicole Bales is a reporter for The Astorian, covering police, courts and county government. Contact her at 971-704-1724 or nbales@dailyastorian.com.