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Govs. Whitmer, Snyder call for peace, unity after U.S. Capitol is stormed

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder issued a joint statement Wednesday calling for national unity hours after protesters supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol and had to be cleared by law enforcement.

Both governors called for peace and unity as police worked to move rioters away from the U.S. Capitol, which was evacuated by Vice President Mike Pence, House representatives and senators.

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer waves at her Jan. 1, 2019 inauguration as her predecessor former Gov. Rick Snyder looks on.

"While we come from different backgrounds and political parties, Gov. Whitmer and I share a deep love for our country," Snyder said in the statement. "We must always remember that we are Americans first, and we are not one another’s enemy."

Whitmer called the riot at the Capitol "truly appalling" and said the United States is a "nation of laws, not mobs."

“Now is the time to put this election behind us once and for all,” Whitmer said in the statement. “We must unify as one nation to defeat our real enemy, which is the pandemic that has taken far too many of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones."

Snyder was among several prominent Republicans to endorse Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in September and campaigned against Trump as part of the Republicans and Independents for Biden group. 

The Capitol was put on lockdown Wednesday afternoon after rioters breached a security line and forced their way into the building, chamber floors and offices, prompting a standoff with armed police and the deployment of the National Guard and Virginia state troopers. 

One woman was shot at the Capitol and died, NBC News reported based on sources in law enforcement. 

Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake both issued statements Wednesday condemning the riot. Both men were among several Michigan GOP lawmakers to meet with Trump after the November election. 

Wentworth condemned the riot and called for the president to use "the power of his voice and office to bring order and peace, immediately."

"We are a nation of rules and respect, and we need to demand both of ourselves," Wentworth said. "America is a beautiful and special place, but this is a tragic moment in our history that obscures our legacy."

Shirkey called the violence at the Capitol "a disgrace."

"Today should have been a peaceful event," Shirkey said. "I condemn the actions of the individuals who threatened our members of Congress and our Republic. They are criminals who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

eleblanc@detroitnews.com