Pennsylvania Republican Laments Jan. 6 Convictions: ‘Is This Really America?’

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) expressed anger at the prison of people convicted of crimes related to the riots of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a debate Thursday night with his Democratic challenger, Dan Pastore.

Asked by debate moderator WICU Erie News Now how he felt about the deliberations of the House select committee investigating the causes of the riots and calling for a committee to impeach former President Donald Trump, Kelly characterized it as a partisan witch hunt and emphasized his anger with the law enforcement response to the riots.

“Does it have to happen like that? Absolutely,” Kelly said of the attack on the Capitol. “The pursuit of this president, regardless of the information gathered, should be shocking to anyone living in this country.”

“I understand and fully agree: January 6 has to happen,” added Kelly. “But when you see some people still in prison with no way out, you ask yourself: Is this really America? Is this really America?”

Kelly correctly noted in the debate that there are only two Republicans on the January 6 committee – Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) – and that both are longtime Trump critics. He did not say, however, that the committee is in its current form because House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) rejected the idea of ​​an independent and bipartisan commission.

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“Most of the witnesses at that hearing were Capitol police or actually Republicans,” replied Pastore, a businessman and lawyer. “What are you proposing?” Are we just brushing it under the rug?”

“It’s important that we get to the bottom, and that’s what we’re trying to do in the January 6 hearings,” added Pastore.

At another point in the debate, Kelly described his loss of faith in the federal government.

“Where we are now, right now as a nation, is the most dangerous point we’ve ever been to, where we’re under the same government that the justice system has failed,” he said. “The FBI is now considered dangerous by most people.”

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Dan Pastore, businessman and lawyer, challenged Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), who continues to express doubts about the validity of the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Dan Pastore, businessman and lawyer, challenged Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), who continues to express doubts about the validity of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Kelly is one of them 147 House Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election later in the day after the Capitol riots. He previously sued to invalidate 2.5 million ballots in Pennsylvania on the grounds that the state legislature is controlled by the GOP. no reason for absentee voting violate Pennsylvania’s constitution. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has a Democratic majority, dismiss the lawsuit in November 2020.

Pastore pressed Kelly later to clarify why he still believes the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Trump.

Kelly declined to give a direct answer, only emphasizing his continued skepticism about the justice being dispensed.

Pastore heaped additional condemnation on Kelly in a Friday statement provided to HuffPost, calling Kelly “an embarrassment to Western Pennsylvania.”

“His comments show that he is unfit to serve in public office,” Pastore said. “I’m running for Congress to support the law of the land and to support law enforcement. Mike Kelly is standing with violent criminals and attacking the men and women of law enforcement who keep us safe.

“Mike Kelly thinks it’s unfair that violent criminals who attack police and try to overthrow our government are in prison, and that’s outrageous,” he added. “Kelly’s attacks on federal law enforcement show he has no respect for the law and the people who protect us.”

Kelly, a six-term incumbent, is the heavy favorite to win reelection in Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, which covers the northwest corner of the Keystone State. In 2020, Trump beat President Joe Biden among district voters by more than 20 percentage points.

Pastore’s struggle to raise big money has kept him from advertising on television so far in the race.


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