Valley party leaders and residents from both sides of the aisle condemned the violent actions of protestors in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
At least one person was killed when rioters sieged the Capitol building to disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory.
Republican Bob Buehner, the former Montour County District Attorney said, he read “disturbing reports about what happened at the Capitol" and expected prosecutions.
“The U.S. Capitol is the symbol of democracy and as such, it needs to be respected," he said. "The people inside the building come and go, but the building represents our government and our way of life and the lack of respect for it is more than troubling. And disturbing.”
Snyder County Democratic committee chairwoman Michelle Siegel called the riot "unacceptable." She cited Trump, his administration and supporters like Roger Stone with inciting his base.
"This is not the country our founders built or my grandfathers fought for in World War ll," she said. "I don’t blame (the rioters). I blame the people that brainwashed them with propaganda."
Todd Robatin, chairman of the Snyder County Republican Committee, was scheduled to attend Wednesday's march but had a scheduling conflict.
"There is a big difference between making a point to protect our freedoms and creating violence because the results that we want are not the results that we are receiving," he said. "Let me be clear: I agree that something needs to be done to protect our freedoms especially our right to free, fair, and transparent elections. However, I do not agree with those that chose to break into the Capitol Building or incite violence of any kind to stimulate action. The violent acts that some chose to participate in do not ever end up solving the problems that we face."
"We have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but that does not give us the right to incite violence," he said.
Rick Thomas, chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee, said Wednesday's events were sad but not surprising. Thomas blames Trump and his supporters, like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for encouraging the rioters instead of helping to calm the situation on Wednesday.
Trump, he said, should be charged with treason.
“It’s a mob mentality. With any group that is fired up and angry there are only two things to do: calm them down or feed the violence," he said. "Trump and his followers in the House and Senate have decided to feed it.”
Thomas said he is encouraging party members not to attend President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration due to the violence that erupted on Wednesday.
“I would have gone but I canceled my plans,” said Thomas who attended the inaugurations of former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Anyone who has violated laws has to be fully prosecuted, without any question or hesitation, Buehner said.
“I think there are probably a list of criminal offenses that occurred this afternoon,” Buehner said.
Bucknell President John Bravman called the events a "grim moment in American history," asking his students and campus community to stay informed.
"I am deeply saddened and, frankly, stunned at the chaos unfolding in the nation’s Capitol, and write to condemn the violence fomented by those who continue to challenge the outcome of the recent presidential election," he said. "One of the absolute hallmarks of American democracy is the peaceful transition of power. No matter your political views, understand that this is an assault on all of us — and our society."
Deb Betz, head of the Northumberland County Republican party, said she was saddened by the tension and dysfunction over politics and our government during Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C.
"I would love to have seen all the Republicans after the Senate race was announced to all kneel and pray together," Betz said. "Composure is a big sign of respect even if the Republicans don’t feel as though the Democrats have handled things appropriately."
Staying composed and showing true integrity through the certification process would have been a victory, she said.
"Even though we lost the battle we could’ve still won the war," Betz said. "Instead I see so much turmoil. I don’t care if it’s a Democrat or Republican in office I hate to see our country and the people that live in it be so at odds with one another.”
Daily Item reporters Rick Dandes and Francis Scarcella contributed to this report.