DECATUR — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, has witnessed firsthand how far political extremists will go to silence those they view as enemies and he doesn't like what he sees.
He was on a baseball field with his congressional colleagues when a man with a gun opened fire on them. A disgruntled constituent called his Decatur office, leaving a voice message threatening to kill him. And last week he was in the U.S. Capitol when it was stormed by a mob of President Donald Trump supporters, leading to the death of five people and putting the country even more on edge.
“It’s the second most terrifying moment I’ve had as a member of Congress after the baseball field shooting in June of 2017,” Davis said of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Davis heard the mob pounding on the doors and shattering the glass as they were attempting to enter the House of the Representatives floor.
This is a sad day for our country. The lawlessness has got to stop. Protestors must leave the Capitol so Congress can resume the process of confirming the Electoral College vote. My staff and I are currently safe. More to say later.— US Rep Rodney Davis (@RodneyDavis) January 6, 2021
"They had guns, they had weapons, they had ropes to scale the Capitol, they had pepper spray, they had zip ties," he said. "From eye witness events, they wanted to know where Nancy (Pelosi) was, they wanted to know where (Mike) Pence was. You know who was sitting right in front of them not more than an hour and a half before they stormed the Capitol? Me."
Davis, who in November won re-election and was an honorary chairman of Trump's Illinois campaign, said he is in disbelief people would react to politics with such violence.
“It’s tragic that we’ve got a country that people feel like they can commit acts of violence because they are inspired by politics.”
The House is expected to approve a resolution calling on Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to declare the president unable to serve. After that, the House would move swiftly to impeachment on Wednesday.
Trump faces a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in the impeachment resolution after the most serious and deadly domestic incursion at the Capitol in the nation’s history. If the resolution is approved, Trump would have the distinction of the being the first president to be impeached twice.
While not actually coming out and saying he would vote against a resolution urging action by Pence or the impeachment of Trump, he instead was critical of the further unrest the process could cause.
“All of these votes have one thing in common — politics,” Davis said, who as ranking member of the Committee on House Administration helped oversee the vote-counting.
“I protected the constitution,” he said. “I will protect the constitution again this week when I see it hijacked again for political purposes just like it was on Jan. 6.”
Davis said a rushed impeachment process was not what the United States forefathers had in mind as part of the constitution.
“There is no result that is ever going to lead to Donald Trump being removed as president before he leaves office in a matter of days,” Davis said.
The actions will lead to more polarization, according to Davis.
“It leads to more violence, more violent rhetoric,” he said. “It’s part of the misinformation and disinformation that we see happening throughout our society right now.”
Davis is concerned about further upheaval at the Capitol and suggested the building be secured during the inaugural events next week.
The congressman said he believes America has the fairest election system. He credits other leaders and committees for confirming the impartial election process.
“But we have Americans believing somehow that election was stolen,” Davis said.
The rhetoric and misinformation from both left-wing and right-wing groups are blamed on social media, Davis said.
“It inspires people who look at politics as their religion to do things that are un-American,” he said. “We as Republicans and Democrats should stand up against them.”
The dynamics of communication and responsibilities for Congress is altered through the misinformation, Davis said.
“It hurts representative democracy,” he said. “Our constitutional republic is at stake if people believe disinformation and misinformation.”
The next few days are a concern for Davis.
“The Democrats are planning a political vote on impeachment where they know the results are never going to be the removal of Donald Trump from the presidency via impeachment,” Davis said. “He’s going to leave because he lost.”
Davis was hopeful the past events would bring the country together. “I was optimistic, but because of this sham impeachment vote, I’m a lot less,” he said.
Davis is comfortable with his responsibility during the confirmation. “This wasn’t a new process,” he said.
The riots and violence Davis witnessed at the Capitol on Wednesday and at the baseball field in 2017 have impassioned the congressman and had the same negative feelings toward the violence, looting and riots the country experienced during the summer of 2020.
“You need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
IN THEIR WORDS: Midwest elected officials react to U.S. Capitol breach
Elected officials react to U.S. Capitol breach
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Democrat
Illinois U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Channahon
Illinois U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, Republican of Peoria
Illinois U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, Republican of Murphysboro
Illinois U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican of Taylorville
Illinois U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat
Indiana U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, Democrat of Indianapolis
Indiana U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, Republican of Elkhart
Indiana U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, Republican of Columbia City
Indiana U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, Republican of Evansville
Indiana U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, Republican of Jeffersonville
Indiana U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, Republican of Noblesville
Indiana U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, Republican
Indiana U.S. Sen. Todd Young, Republican
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, Republican of Glenbeulah
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, Democrat of Milwaukee
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, Democrat of Madison
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, Republican of Green Bay
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, Democrat of La Crosse
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, Republican of Minocqua
Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR