U.S. Congressmen Michael Cloud (R-Victoria) and Filemon Vela Jr. (D-Brownsville) were among many lawmakers nationwide to speak out on the events witnessed at the nation’s capital last week.
“The violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol is heartbreaking,” Cloud said in his weekly constituent newsletter. “I had the opportunity to review the video of what had been going on, after it was deemed safe for members of Congress to leave our undisclosed, secure location. We have inherited such a gift as Americans, and I am grieved by what we saw.
“The violence and intimidation on display undermines the very objectives of a free and functioning republic and has absolutely no place here,” he added. “A number of Capitol Police took the brunt of the violence. Please continue to keep them and their families in your prayers.”
“Yesterday was a dark day in American history,” Vela said in a statement issued Thursday, Jan. 7. “Americans witnessed our nation’s Capitol besieged by rioters that chose violence and destruction instead of peaceful protests. The violence brought forward on our nation’s Capitol is a national tragedy that will leave a dark stain on our history for generations to come.
“Still, I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of Capitol Police, local law enforcement and our National Guard Service members who worked to keep members of Congress, reporters, and staff safe so we could return to make the certification of the 2020 election possible,” Vela added.
When it came to their respective votes on the electoral vote certification, Cloud and Vela stood at odds last week on what needed to be done.
“I objected to seating the electors in five states where major unconstitutional election changes happened,” Cloud said. “Although ultimately Congress certified the results, I believe light needs to be shed on the critical issues I and others have raised about the election process.”
Vela, by contrast, insisted that his vote backing the election certification was done with “the will of the American people” in mind.
“President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won the 2020 election decisively, with a historic margin of victory,” Vela said. “It was an honor to join my colleagues in Congress to affirm the electoral votes of the 2020 election and declare Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States, ensuring that the will of the American people stands.”
“(Last week)’s actions were a direct result of the lies and hateful rhetoric that President Donald Trump has continuously sowed since his loss in November,” Vela added. “However, the violent insurrection of a few did not stifle the millions of lawful votes cast by the American people and Congress completed its solemn duty late into the evening to ensure our Democratic process remains intact.”
Vela went on to say that leaders in charge would likely “have to answer” for last week’s events at the Capitol but offered no explanation on how or when that might place.
Regardless, both lawmakers spoke on the need to move forward and put differences aside.
“My top priority continues to be representing our part of South Texas in Washington,” Rep. Cloud said. “There will be much work ahead as we keep fighting to fix what’s broken in Washington and deliver results for people in Texas. I work for you, and I hope you will continue to share with me your thoughts and concerns as we move forward.”
Rep. Vela agreed.
“As we start a new year and prepare to turn a new chapter, I call on my colleagues across the aisle in both the House and Senate to put aside divisive political rhetoric,” he said. “It is time we come together to help our country heal and work on passing legislation that meets the great needs of this moment. I am ready to get to work for the American people who deserve better.”
Cloud represents Texas Congressional District 27, which includes Aransas, Calhoun, Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, Victoria and Wharton counties, as well as portions of Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales and San Patricio counties.
Vela represents Texas Congressional District 34, which includes Bee, Cameron, DeWitt, Goliad, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties, along with portions of Gonzales, Hidalgo and San Patricio counties.