Voterama in Congress
WASHINGTON — Alabama’s representatives voted along party lines last week to impeach President Trump and to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke 25th Amendment proceedings to remove Trump from office. Read more.
UPDATED — The FBI says that “armed protests” could erupt at state capitols in all 50 states, and some officials are making significant preparations to face a possible onslaught of Trump supporters grieved by the impending Biden inauguration.
In Alabama, well, officials seem less worried.
“I don’t foresee anybody trying to really storm the Alabama state capitol, and why they would do it, I don’t know,” said Patrick Harris, secretary of the Alabama Senate. “I mean, we’re the home of everybody that’s supporting all these people,” he said, referring to Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, whose role in stirring up the insurrection remains under scrutiny. “And we voted for Trump, we certified our votes for Trump.”
The prevailing idea seems to be that rightwing protestors, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys or others are not expected to kick up trouble in Montgomery over the presidential election. Even a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center and its Hatewatch unit, which closely monitors the activities of such groups, said, “We don’t have any specific notes to share about Alabama at this time.”
At least for Sunday, they appeared to be right. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that there were more police than onlookers at the Capitol building. About two dozen Montgomery police officers and state troopers were on the Capitol grounds Sunday. Several others sat in parked cars at the road barricades, and the police chief paced the block with two officers in an ATV. Read more.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin described the Jan. 6 Capitol insurgency as a time when people “identified themselves as white supremacists,” which he said the country must acknowledge.
“To move the country forward, we have to acknowledge the pain it caused, have accountability and move forward,” he said during a livestreamed interview with Karen Attiah, global opinions editor for the Washington Post.
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed described the insurrectionists as people who felt they could get close enough to use deadly force. The terrorists exhibited “a level of privilege, entitlement and outright brazenness,” he added.
The two black mayors, whose cities represent the cradle and battlegrounds of the Civil Rights movement from the 1950s to the present day, were interviewed during a Facebook Live event by Karen Attiah, the global opinions editor of the Washington Post, on Friday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Read more.
The Pentagon has selected Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal as the headquarters for the nation’s new U.S. Space Command.
“We will make you proud of your decision,’’ Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle said Wednesday in a statement. “We look forward to the partnership with the U.S. Space Command and pledge to make it a success from day one.’’
The Air Force said Huntsville is the “preferred and reasonable’’ site pending a required environmental impact study — considered a routine process —
that should be finished by 2023. Six cities were in contention for the selection. Read more.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual population estimate of U.S. residents indicates Alabama could be pitted against New York for the possible loss of a U.S. House of Representatives seat after the decennial census is released. The estimates as they stand now would put Alabama’s population just high enough to keep its present seven representatives, with New York losing a seat, according to an analysis by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. Read more.
Although still recovering from COVID-19-related pneumonia, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced three major political appointments Tuesday morning, including a new director of innovation and economic opportunity and two members of the Birmingham Water Works Board. Read more.
Alabama Democrats are targeting U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, a five-term GOP incumbent once thought safe in his heavily Republican 5th Congressional District, for defeat in 2022.
“I plan to use whatever small influence I have to see that Mo is defeated,’’ said former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb. “We don’t need an ideologue representing Alabama.’’
Brooks is at the center of Democratic outrage over fiery comments he made last Wednesday at a rowdy Washington rally of President Donald Trump’s supporters who cheered his false accusations that the November election had been rigged to elect Democrat Joe Biden.
WASHINGTON — Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, and Rep. Terri Sewell, a Democrat, were the only two of Alabama’s congressmen who voted last week to accept presidential election results certified by the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
But Electoral College votes eventually were certified and President-elect Joe Biden was declared winner of the election.
Opponents of accepting, or certifying, the votes said Congress should appoint a commission to audit the 2020 presidential balloting in Arizona and five other states Biden narrowly carried.
The votes occurred the night an armed mob of Trump supporters streamed through the Capitol, destroying property, defiling historical spaces and forcing lawmakers to shelter in place for extended periods, many behind barricaded doors. Read more.
Whether you call it a coup attempt, an insurrection or a protest that went horribly wrong, the Jan. 6 invasion by supporters of President Trump into the U.S. Capitol involved Alabamians in several ways.
A Falkville Trump supporter has been arrested on charges involving weapons and Molotov cocktails filled with a homemade napalm-like explosive. An Athens man died of a heart attack outside the Capitol as police were trying to repel the mob.
Fingers are pointing at U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, because of his speech at a Trump rally before the riot in which he urged the crowd on toward dramatic action.
Freshman Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s name has come up in reports about the day as Trump and Rudy Giuliani tried to call Tuberville’s office to urge him to delay action while senators were debating the certification of the electoral college votes.
And the state’s attorney general is calling for the investigation of a group he leads after learning it actively promoted attendance at the rally. Read more.