ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – News 6 asked all members of Congress representing Central Florida for an interview Monday, both democrats and republicans. Only one agreed: U.S. Congressman Michael Waltz, who represents Flagler County and Volusia County.
“I want to be very clear, I was on the house floor when this riot, these thugs barged in and unseated our democracy,” Waltz said. “When the Capitol policeman came back in, he told us there had been a breach and said they had been deployed tear gas right outside the door and I’m helping members of Congress put on gas masks, that’s when I knew this was very serious.”
Waltz said other members of Congress had barricaded the door.
“They were pushing on it trying to get through and at that point, I began helping evacuate. A lot of the members are elderly. A lot of them had never put on a gas mask before. I know the smell of tear gas, I have heard the sound of tear gas grenades,” he said.
Waltz, a Republican and U.S. Army Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and Africa, said he had supported the challenge to the election from Texas but now supports the peaceful transition of power.
“At the end of the day I saw that we didn’t have the votes, the Vice President took a very narrow view of his role as it was allowed by the law, and most importantly we had to move to a peaceful transition of power,” Waltz said. “That’s a hallmark of this country and what makes us different from all the places I fought overseas.”
Waltz does not support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to file articles of impeachment against President Trump or invoke the 25th Amendment which allows Congress and the Vice President to remove a President if he or she is unfit to serve.
“In terms of impeachment, I just don’t think that’s the answer right now and in fact, that is going to pour fuel on the fire,” Waltz said. “And I think if the Vice President and now President-elect Biden is serious about calm and lowering the temperature across the country, then he will show leadership as the leader of his party and put a stop to it. In terms of the 25th amendment, I just don’t see that going anywhere, the Vice President’s been clear and a key piece, he has to be on board with that and it’s clear that he’s not.”
U.S. Senator Rick Scott, a Republican, tweeted Monday afternoon that “impeachment does NOTHING to help American families or bring our country together.”
“The Electoral College has spoken and President-elect Biden will be sworn in nine days from now,” Scott said in an email to News 6. ”The President has committed to an orderly transition and that process is underway. It’s time to prepare for that, take the crazy rhetoric down on both sides, and move our nation forward.”
The senior U.S. Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, also a Republican, told Fox News on Sunday he does not support removing the President.
“It’s unfortunate that instead of unifying us right now, Biden and the Democrats are choosing to use this as an opportunity to talk about ridiculous things like let’s impeach a president who is going to be out of office in about nine days,” Rubio said. “I want everybody to think about what that means, okay. Number one, Joe Biden ran as the guy who’s going to unify the country, but he’s going to spend the first couple of weeks of this presidency not confirming his nominees or dealing with the pandemic. The first couple weeks of his presidency is going to be about removing a president that is already not in the office.”
Rubio said the riot at the Capitol was “disgusting and unpatriotic.”
“These are not conservatives, these are wackos, these are nutjobs,” Rubio said. “99% of the people that were at that protest did not storm that capital. They have strong feelings about the election, they support the president and they were not a part of it.”
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat representing Seminole and Orange Counties, said she will “fulfill” her oath and support impeachment.
“Congress has a constitutional and moral obligation to provide a check and balance on the president; to hold him accountable for inciting violence and insurrection; and to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
Congresswoman Val Demings, a Democrat representing Orlando, said she supports removing President Trump.
“With the deepest sadness but strongest conviction I will again vote to impeach this president for his crimes against the republic and the American people,” Demings posted on Twitter.
Republican Congressman Bill Posey did not respond to News 6′s request for an interview or statement today. Republican Congressman Daniel Webster also did not respond.