GOP West Virginia governor calls pro-Trump Capitol riot 'despicable,' urges country over party
- "We have got to step back and take some deep breaths and realize that we're Americans first and foremost," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice told CNBC on Monday.
- The Republican said last week's pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill was "despicable."
- "This makes [Americans] look terrible beyond belief," he said.
- First elected as a Democrat, Justice switched to the GOP in 2017 at a rally alongside President Donald Trump.
Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice told CNBC on Monday the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol last week made the country "look terrible" and he urged Americans to put aside their political affiliations.
"What happened with the attack on our Capitol, with people who were just out of control, is despicable," Justice said on "Squawk on the Street." "That's all there is to it. There's no other way around it."
First elected as a Democrat, Justice switched to the GOP in 2017 at a rally alongside President Donald Trump. While acknowledging Trump supporters are frustrated their candidate lost to President-elect Joe Biden, Justice said a moment of reflection needs to take place because "we have gotten off the rails."
"We have got to step back and take some deep breaths and realize that we're Americans first and foremost," he added. "We aren't Democrats and Republicans first and foremost. We're Americans, and for crying out loud, this makes us look terrible beyond belief."
House Democrats are once again moving to impeach Trump, this second time for encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol while Congress was finalizing Biden's Electoral College victory.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has called on Trump to resign, saying "he has caused enough damage." Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said that while there's probably not enough time for impeachment before Biden's inauguration next week, "I think the president has disqualified himself from ever, certainly, serving in office again."
Among those who have so far been arrested for their alleged participation in Wednesday's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are 35-year-old Derrick Evans, who was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in November as a Republican. Evans has since resigned after being charged in connection with storming the Capitol. He livestreamed parts of the riot, according to the Associated Press.
"I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians," Evans said in a statement, according to the AP.
Justice sharply criticized Evans, who was charged with a two misdemeanors for disorderly conduct and entering a restricted area. If convicted, Evans could be sentenced to up to a year and a half in federal prison.
"To run up there and film yourself and go through that and everything, that's nothing but a dumb bunny," Justice said. "I don't know Delegate Evans. He's newly elected and everything, but from my standpoint, if you're going to do that stuff, really and truly you ought to suffer the consequences."
— The Associated Press contributed to this article.