Sen. Roy Blunt on Sunday called President Donald Trump’s actions and decisions leading up to the siege of the U.S. Capitol “clearly reckless,” but stopped short of calling on the president to resign. During an appearance on CBS's “Face the Nation,” Blunt also refused to say whether Trump had committed an impeachable offense.
“I think the president’s decisions and actions that day and leading up to that day on this topic were clearly reckless,” the Missouri Republican said, adding that Trump “had involvement” in the “sad and terrible” riot Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
“The president should be very careful over the next 10 days that his behavior is what you’d expect” of a leader of the United States, Blunt said.
He refused to say whether the president had committed an impeachable offense.
“I wasn’t interested then or now in spending a lot of time on things that can’t happen,” just like the impeachment of the president, Blunt said.
He called the impeachment a long-term punishment for the president, and that it was politically motivated.
Blunt said that he and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, plan to look into the security and police planning ahead of last week’s Trump rally that devolved into an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
But Blunt defended the outnumbered Capitol Police.
“I resent any sense that the Capitol Police didn’t push back, fight back” and that officers worked to stand between “first the building and then the people in the building.”
“I do know when you’re overwhelmed in law enforcement, one of the things you do is step back and regroup,” Blunt said.
Blunt, chairman of the Rules Committee, is in charge of planning the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
Blunt also avoided criticizing fellow Missourian, Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the Republican leaders of the effort to block electoral votes from state that went for Joe Biden. Hawley objected to Pennsylvania’s vote.
Blunt’s appearance comes as Hawley faces criticism for his actions Wednesday, including giving protesters a signal of support as he walked into the U.S. Capitol before the protest turned violent.
One political science professor said Hawley’s political opponents will forever link him to the insurrection on Wednesday.
About 300 people gathered downtown Saturday to condemn the senator, who's received broad condemnation following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.