Reynolds decries riot but says many believe vote ‘not valid’
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday condemned the destructive riot at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in four deaths and the suspension of Congress, but she remained sympathetic to unfounded assertions questioning the integrity of the presidential election.
In a call with reporters, Reynolds said the mayhem in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday was unacceptable and that those responsible should be prosecuted. But even while criticizing the violence, Reynolds said the protesters’ claim that Democrat Joe Biden stole the presidency should be addressed.
“I don’t care what your politics are or what you believe happened in this election. When you have half of the electorate that feels that maybe something is not valid, then that’s a concern for our republic and we want to do everything we can to address that,” she said.
Reynolds is a Republican and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and appeared at his Iowa campaign stops in the months leading up to the November election. Trump won a majority of votes in Iowa but lost the national election by more than 7 million popular votes and 74 Electoral College votes.
The governor did not criticize Trump for encouraging supporters before the violent attack and afterwards when he told them in a video message that he loved them but they should go home.
The governor also declined to acknowledge Biden’s victory until Thursday, when she said Congress had certified the election result and that Trump had promised a peaceful transition of power on Jan. 20.
Reynolds has been willing to allow those discrediting the election to continue to cast doubt, saying Trump should pursue legal challenges. Those actions have been repeatedly dismissed by state and federal judges as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.
When asked if she and other Republican leaders should have more quickly rejected false claims of election fraud, she said people need to stop pointing fingers and move forward.
“We need to stop the rhetoric and we need to sit at the table and we need to have constructive conversations, and part of that is putting the phone down, getting off social media and really figuring out how we can come to the table and work together,” she said.