One year later: Iowa delegation reflects on Jan. 6 insurrection, violence

By: - January 6, 2022 4:38 pm

Thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters storm the U.S. Capitol building following a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

One year after insurrectionists swarmed the U.S. Capitol, members of Iowa’s D.C. delegation thanked Capitol police officers and condemned the violent participants in the riot.

Rep. Cindy Axne began a Wednesday event with a moment of silence for Capitol police officers who were injured or killed on Jan. 6, 2021, when thousands of people attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election results.

Axne, the lone Democrat in Iowa’s delegation, said America had changed since the attacks on the Capitol. She pointed to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll that found about 1 in 3 Americans believe violence against the U.S. government is sometimes justified.

“That’s a sad thing when about a third of our country says that that’s okay,” Axne said. “And that an even larger amount… believe that there will be turmoil in future elections.”

In a column Thursday, Axne stressed the need to continue investigating the insurrection, with the goal of preventing future acts of violence or attempted political overthrow.

“We obviously have gone a little backwards in understanding that government should be working for the people, but it should also be something that we respect, and that we see as helping this country,” Axne told reporters. “And we should ensure that we’ve got the processes in place to protect it, because if we don’t, we literally limit ourselves from protecting the American people.”

In an emailed statement on Thursday, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks thanked the Capitol police officers who defended the Capitol and promised to continue to support them.

“What happened on January 6th, 2021, is never an appropriate outlet for political opinions, anger, disappointment, or frustrations whether on the left, the right, or the middle,” she said.

Rep. Ashley Hinson condemned the violence, calling the events of Jan. 6 “horrific.”

“Those who broke the law on January 6th should be prosecuted and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Hinson said in an email.

Rep. Randy Feenstra said in an emailed statement that the anniversary should not be “a day for partisan bickering or finger pointing.”

“Rather, today should serve as a reminder that, like in communities all across Iowa, we are not defined by our political disagreements but by our common bonds of faith, family, community and country,” Feenstra said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley tweeted Jan. 6 was “a difficult day.”

“I believe we need to focus on issues that bring our country together not tear us apart,” he wrote.

Ernst did not put out a statement on the anniversary by Thursday afternoon. Her office did not respond to a request for comment.

Who voted to certify the 2020 election results?

After the rioters were cleared from the Capitol, lawmakers voted to certify the 2020 election results. Nearly 150 Republicans challenged the results and voted against certification.

All members of Iowa’s delegation, Republican and Democrat, voted to certify President Joe Biden’s win in 2020.

Who voted for the Jan. 6 committee?

Soon after the attack, many lawmakers pushed to investigate the events of Jan. 6. 

Initially, they proposed an independent commission made up of bipartisan experts. The proposal passed the House – Axne and Miller-Meeks voted in favor – but then died in the Senate. Feenstra, Hinson, Grassley and Ernst voted against the proposal.

Instead, the House convened a special investigative committee, which did not require Senate support. That committee is composed of nine representatives – seven Democrats and two Republicans.

None of the Republicans in Iowa’s House delegation voted in favor of the special investigative committee. Axne, a Democrat, voted in favor.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.