Sen. Bennet meets mountain town leaders to discuss pandemic, Washington riots |

Sen. Bennet meets mountain town leaders to discuss pandemic, Washington riots

Three days removed from Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump extremists, Sen. Michael Bennet heard updates Friday from mountain town leaders on the latest challenges brought on by the pandemic.

A panel of 12 speakers, including Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, also heard first-hand from the second-term senator about this week’s attempted coup in Washington, D.C.

Reconvening hours after the violent uproar to certify the electoral college vote was critical for the state of democracy, which “was being threatened this week,” Bennet said.

“That gives me hope, really, that we’ve got really bright days ahead of us,” Bennet said about Congress’ rejection of attempts led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, to overturn the November presidential results on unproven allegations of widespread voter fraud and election law violations.

The panelists in the virtual call included ski area operators, elected officeholders and business leaders. Among the pandemic’s challenges in the mountain communities that were discussed: a small labor pool, an erosion in employee morale, restaurants barely squeaking by, climbing home prices stressing affordable-housing programs, inequities prevalent in under-served Latino communities, a need for more vaccinations, and trails and campgrounds being overrun in the summer, among other issues.

“And on top of everything else, mob rules is distressing, to say the least,” said David Pitcher, owner of Wolf Creek Ski Area. “And we appreciate Sen. Bennet taking the time to meet with us.”

Bennet is among the growing group of lawmakers supporting the impeachment of Trump or his removal from office through the 25th Amendment.

He didn’t address that during the panel discussion but called for renewed allegiance to democratic principles and values.

“In the wake of all of this,” he said, “we’re going to have to think of a way to strengthen our democratic institutions at every level, not just the national level, but local also.”

Later Friday, Bennet issued a statement saying Wednesday was “the founders’ worst nightmare — the president of the United States inciting a mob to attack Congress and cling to power.” Swift action should start with Trump’s resignation, he said.

“Last year, I voted to remove President Trump from office for his crimes against our republic,” Bennet said. “Since then, his unconstitutional wrongdoing has only grown worse. He should resign immediately. If he does not, Vice President Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office. Failing that, I will support any effort to impeach the president and uphold the rule of law – including steps beyond Jan. 20 if required.”

That’s the date Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in as America’s 46th president.

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