‘Pretty Damn Scary to Me’: Day After Riots, US Rep. Alma Adams Calls for Trump’s Removal

WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2021/01/06: Rioters clash with police trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used batons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

By Billy Ball

January 7, 2021

Adams says GOP hasn’t done enough, worries Trump-inspired riots might spread nationwide and impact Joe Biden’s inauguration.  

Many of the North Carolina Republicans who condemned yesterday’s violence have “absolutely not” done enough to quell tensions following Wednesday’s Trump-inspired riot at the US Capitol, US Rep. Alma Adams says.

That’s why they should join with many Democrats like her in asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution and remove President Donald Trump from office, Adams said Thursday in an interview with Cardinal & Pine. 

“Many of the things they should’ve done over the last four years, they didn’t do,” Adams said. “Here’s an opportunity to do the right thing, to speak truth to power.”

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The 25th Amendment to the Constitution allows for Vice President Mike Pence to declare that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the office, allowing Pence to step in the interim until President-elect Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

Numerous Democrats, including soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have urged Pence to remove the president from office after he incited the angry mob that ransacked the Capitol Wednesday. Pence has not responded.

Read More: ‘A Kind of Insurrection Effort’: Rep. David Price Blames Trump for DC Chaos

Adams, a Democratic US House representative from Charlotte, directly referenced GOP colleagues in the chamber, including seven from North Carolina, who continue to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s election on the false grounds that the election was stolen. She said people, including Trump, “added to the whole thing” by promoting false conspiracy theories about the results. 

“It’s one thing to talk about it now, but perhaps we could have avoided the whole thing,” Adams added.

The lawmaker, who has been a vocal critic of the president, also blamed Trump, saying that the president “egged them on” when he addressed the rioters Wednesday before they stormed the Capitol Building. 

“These folks did not come here in a peaceful way,” Adams said. “They were angry.”

“I don’t want to talk about how some of them looked,” she added later. “Some of these people looked pretty damn scary to me.”

‘Pretty Damn Scary to Me’: Day After Riots, US Rep. Alma Adams Calls for Trump’s Removal
US Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-N.C., wears a face mask during a House committee meeting in May. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

‘A Little Shaken’ 

Adams spoke on camera to reporters from her DC office Thursday afternoon, hours after Trump-backing rioters stormed the Capitol Building and upended plans to certify the Electoral College results for Biden. She was not on the floor of the House when the domestic terrorists entered the chamber. 

Members of the US House and Senate returned to the grounds Wednesday evening to finish the job, certifying the results with still a handful of Republican senators and more than 100 GOP representatives objecting. 

Adams said she was “still a little shaken” by the day. She said she arrived at the Capitol Wednesday for the election certification and was told to enter through another door because of Trump-backing “protesters.”

“‘The protesters have now gotten into the building,’ an officer told me,” Adams said. “And they were climbing the wall. You could see them, just like rope climbers.”

Shortly afterward, she was directed to enter via underground tunnels because of the tensions, but she “didn’t have a really good feeling about it.”

“I told myself let’s just go back to the office. I will give up my seat for those 15 minutes or so. When it’s time for me to vote, I would go over. That’s when all of the alarms started to go off.”

Adams said she and her staff bolted the doors to their DC office and waited until Capitol Police took them to a more secure location. 

“It was very scary because we did have staff (in the Capitol Building),” she said. 

Afterward, Adams, a college professor from North Carolina, said she received “probably 200” texts from family, friends and former students asking about her. 

‘Pretty Damn Scary to Me’: Day After Riots, US Rep. Alma Adams Calls for Trump’s Removal
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 07: Pock marks are seen from bullets fired at the doors to the House of Representatives from the outside when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. The shots did not pierce the armored glass. Following a rally yesterday with President Donald Trump on the National Mall, a pro-Trump mob stormed and broke into the U.S. Capitol building causing the Joint Session of Congress to delay the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

‘I’m glad there weren’t Black folks out there…’

The veteran lawmaker also made a point of noting the discrepancies in the way DC and Capitol police handled the Trump-backing rioters, comparing it to aggressive police interactions with Black Lives Matter protesters, as well as demonstrators outside the White House. 

Adams, who is Black, said Capitol Police should be reviewed for the way they approached Trump-instigated domestic terrorists. At times, the rioters appeared to stroll leisurely through the Capitol and into top legislative offices with minimal resistance from police. 

“I’m glad there weren’t Black folks out there,” said Adams. “We’ve killed enough of our Black men and women who simply want to peacefully protest.”

Adams warned that Wednesday’s upheaval might be the start of something new. She worried that it would spread across the country and potentially even impact Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration in DC, even though coronavirus has made the inauguration a mostly remote affair this year with a stage near the Capitol grounds. Limited numbers of people will be allowed to view the inauguration proceedings in person.

“We need to be prepared,” said Adams. “We need to be thinking about it. We need to be proactive.”


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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