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Area Republicans hit the road Wednesday to attend the Save America Rally in Washington DC, where thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters gathered as Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes that declared Joe Biden victorious in the presidential race. Some time after Trump addressed the crowd, some attendees stormed and breached the Capitol.
This occurred after months of Trump's many unsuccessful attempts to overturn the election results and just a couple of weeks before Biden’s inauguration.
Marshall Keene, Culpeper County Republican Party’s chairman, stated via email that he did not attend but explained “Culpeper Republican Committee members along with other like minded conservatives from Louisa, Orange, and Fauquier Counties made the trip to Washington DC to continue to show support for President Trump and express our disdain for the apparent voter fraud that has infiltrated our election process throughout our country.”
Dave Settle and his wife Sherrie, who are both Republican committee executive members, attended the rally. Dave Settle said via email that they were not among those who breached the Capitol.
He explained they attended to “support President Trump and his attempt to adjudicate election discrepancies.”
Sherrie Settle described the rally as having a “diverse crowd” with “people in attendance from all over the world.” She added that “everyone was respectful, supportive, helpful and united.” Asked what she thought of those who entered the Capitol, she responded: “The Capitol Building was closed and people attending the rally shouldn’t have entered.”
Sherrie Settle added that “it was very apparent of the malice and corrupt contempt of Mayor Muriel Bowser to impede a peaceful rally.”
“The city did not provide restrooms, there were very few food trucks, restaurants and other businesses were all closed by the Mayor’s order. In past visits to DC, there have been approximately 15 food trucks parked along The Mall. She had them removed the night before we came. In general, I feel the Mayor painted us all as trouble makers with her comments on the news,” she said.
While Sherrie Settle did not specify exactly what comments upset her, Bowser said during a press conference that “the behavior that we are witnessing is shameful, unpatriotic and above all it is unlawful.”
“There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated,” Bowser added.
Virginia's 7th District Rep. Abagail Spanberger tweeted: "I was in the House Chamber as violent, far right protestors tried to break down the doors. Thank you to the Capitol Police for keeping us safe and evacuating staff, reporters, and members of Congress to safety."
Over four hours after the Capitol was breached, the building was secured. Congress reconvened and by 1:30 a.m. Thursday, 244 out of the necessary 270 Electoral votes were certified in Biden's favor.
Earlier in the day, according to a Rappahannock News report, Virginia Republican Leader Todd Gilbert said the day’s events were “inexcusable” and the event was a “riot masquerading as a protest.”