D.C. riots dominate UVA Center for Politics’ ‘Democracy Dialogue’

Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 10:54 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia’s Center for Politics had planned to talk about the political headlines during a ‘Democracy Dialogue’ on Wednesday night, but the violence in Washington, D.C. changed the discussion and the insights shared by Larry Sabato.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was supposed to be there virtually, but he was busy on the Senate floor and could not attend. Former Speaker Paul Ryan’s interview was taped Wednesday morning, before the rioters entered the U.S. Capitol. That left Sabato with the task of trying to keep the focus on the news of the day.

“This tumultuous, chaotic, disastrous day in US history has underlined the importance of speaking to one another, trying to dialogue with one another and come to some terms, even if you can’t completely compromise,” he said.

Sabato was holding that conversation just hours after a violent mob of Trump-supporters stormed the Capitol on the day of a usually-procedural vote by Congress to certify the election. He also didn’t mince words about President Trump and what he says will go down as an attempted “coup” in a separate interview.

“This is what happens when you elect a narcissistic would-be dictator as President of the United States,” Sabato said. “It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment. Install Mike Pence, Get Donald Trump out of town and away from the levers of power.”

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan opened the webinar, live, by acknowledging people’s fears and frustrations from the day.

“The violence in Washington today was an attack on our democracy,” Ryan said. “It’s a painful reminder of just how fragile our system of government can be.”

While Tim Kaine wasn’t able to call in, he did share a message on Twitter. He said “we saw an anti-American, anti-democratic assault on our nation” and encouraged anyone considering overturning the election results to not “sell your soul and join a toddler in his tantrum.”

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