WASHINGTON, D.C. — As a mob of people stormed the capitol on January 6, Georgia Congressman Rick Allen found himself inches from the violence.
“I sit right by the door where the President comes in,” Allen described. “All of a sudden, there was banging on the door, so we knew something was up. The first thing we did was find furniture to barricade the doors, which we were able to do.
Allen and other lawmakers were rushed to an undisclosed location, where they stayed for five hours until Capitol Police secured the building.
“The bottom line is, they [rioters] should have never been able to get on the campus and infiltrate the building.”
Allen does not believe President Donald Trump “had any idea” riots would break out following his speech at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally. Trump has not publicly taken responsibility for the violence. Allen points to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s speech on the House floor Wednesday, in which he said, “The President bears responsibility” for the attack on the Capitol.
“We need a bipartisan commission to do a complete investigation, analyze what the President said and talk to witnesses,” Allen says.
When the House convened to impeach Trump for a historic second time Wednesday, Allen remained loyal to the President.
“I believe everyone has the right to prove their innocence. It’s innocent until proven guilty. None of that happened in this impeachment process.”
10 House Republicans broke rank, siding with Democrats to impeach the President on a single charge — “incitement of an insurrection.” Several Republicans, including Allen, suggest moving forward with impeachment will further divide the country.
“We need to bring the American people together. This trial in the Senate is not going to do that. It’s going to create more hostility.”
As the Senate prepares to begin another impeachment trial, Allen says Georgia needs to focus on restoring election integrity. Many Republicans grew to doubt the state’s election system and process in 2020, pointing to voting equipment and the number of people who voted with absentee ballots. Allen and five other Georgia representatives objected to certifying the Electoral College’s vote.
“I was simply representing my district. I’m the voice of the people. I can’t tell you how upset folks were about some of the things that happened in this election.”
Concerns about elections were heightened when some voters in Columbia County, which is part of Allen’s Congressional district, had to vote on emergency paper ballots in the January 5 Senate runoff. Poll workers at 34 of 47 precincts encountered technical problems with voting machines. Allen says he quickly called Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger when he learned of the issue, which was resolved in less than two hours.
“It’s hard because things like that are going to happen. I was assured that every one of those ballots that was put in a secure box was going to be entered into those machines and equipment.”
Transition of power
As the country heals from the unrest on January 6, Allen says it is time to move forward.
“We need to stop the rhetoric and move on.”
He tells NewsChannel 6 he is willing to work with his Democratic counterparts to ensure there is a smooth transition of power when Joe Biden takes office.
“I’m not sure I’m going to agree on a lot of the policies. I hope we can listen to each other, and we can do what’s right for the American people.”