Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) expressed outrage over the incarceration of people convicted of crimes related to the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a Thursday night interview with his opponent. Democratic, Dan Pastore.
Asked by interview analysts WICU Erie News Now how he felt about the hearings of the House select committee investigating the causes of the riots and asking the committee to impeach former President Donald Trump, Kelly described it as witch hunt and emphasized his anger and legal response to the chaos.
“Could it have happened? No,” Kelly said of the Capitol attack. “The relentless persistence of this president, regardless of any information gathered, should surprise anyone who lives in this country.”
“I understand and I completely agree: Jan. 6 should not have happened,” Kelly added. But when you look at some of the people who are still locked up with no way out, you wonder: Is this really America? Is it really America?”
Kelly correctly noted in the debate that there are only two Republicans on the Jan committee. 6 – Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — and that both are longtime Trump critics. However, he did not say that the committee exists in its current form because House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) rejected the idea of an independent and bipartisan commission.
Pastore, a businessman and lawyer, replied: “Most of the witnesses in those courts were Capitol police or Republicans. “What are you moving? That we sweep it under the carpet?”
“It’s important that we get to the bottom of it, and that’s what we’re trying to do at the Jan. 6 meetings,” Pastore added.
At one point in the interview, Kelly described losing faith in the federal government.
“Where we are now, now as a nation, is the most dangerous point we have ever been in, where we are captured by this government whose justice system has failed,” he said. “The FBI is now considered a danger to many people.”
Kelly is one of the 147 House Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election later in the day following the Capitol riot. He had previously sued to cancel 2.5 million Pennsylvania votes because the state legislature was controlled by the GOP absentee voting violated the Pennsylvania constitution. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with a Democratic majority, dismiss the case in November 2020.
Pastore pressed Kelly later to clarify whether he still believes the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Trump.
Kelly refused to give a straight answer, instead emphasizing his continued skepticism about the justice with which it was administered.
“My opponent can say anything he wants, ‘He won’t accept,’ ‘He won’t accept,’ ‘He won’t accept,'” he said. accept is the destruction of America and the trust we need to have in our government and our elections.”
Pastore accused Kelly in a Friday statement provided to HuffPost, calling Kelly “a disgrace to Western Pennsylvania.”
“His comments show that he is unfit to hold public office,” Pastore said. “I’m running for Congress to support the law of the land and to support law enforcement. Mike Kelly stands with violent criminals and attacks the law enforcement men and women who keep us safe.”
He added: “Mike Kelly thinks it’s unfair that violent criminals who attacked the police and tried to overthrow our government are in prison, and that’s outrageous. “Kelly’s attack against federal law shows he has no respect for the law and those who protect us.”
Kelly, a six-term incumbent, is the favorite to win re-election in Pennsylvania’s 16th District, which covers the northwest corner of the Keystone State. In 2020, Trump defeated President Joe Biden among the district’s voters by more than 20 percent.
Pastore’s fundraising problem has prevented him from advertising on television so far in the race.