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Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase stripped from committee assignment after connection to Trump rally
By Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner | January 20, 2021 02:30 PM
The Virginia Senate stripped Sen. Amanda Chase from her committee assignment Tuesday after she spoke at a rally to support President Donald Trump earlier this month before protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
In a 37-1 vote, in which Chase, R-Colonial Heights, was the only “nay” vote cast, Chase was removed from the Local Government Committee, which was her only committee assignment.
A Senate committee also advanced a resolution to censure Chase for her involvement in the protest. A censure would be a formal condemnation of the senator but does not remove her from the chamber. A censure requires a vote by a simple majority of senators, but expelling her from the Senate would require a two-thirds vote.
Chase was one of the speakers at a Stop the Steal rally Jan. 6, at which speakers claimed Trump lost the 2020 election because of voter fraud. After the speeches, hundreds of rally-goers stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, but Chase said she left before that happened.
Chase hailed the pro-Trump rally-goers as patriots and denounced the attack on the Capitol, claiming it was carried out by far-left Antifa members rather than Trump supporters. The FBI has found no evidence that Antifa was behind the attack, and authorities have been investigating the perpetrators and arresting them for their involvement.
The resolution to censure Chase accuses the senator of “fomenting insurrection against the United States” and said her statements and actions constitute a failure to uphold her oath of office and that it is unbecoming of a senator. The resolution states the event she took part in was a catalyst to the attack on the Capitol and she propagated unfounded claims about the identity of the perpetrators and the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
“I strongly believe our oath must mean something,” said Sen. John Bell, D-Broadlands, who is the primary sponsor of Senate Resolution 91 to censure Chase.
Bell said freedom of speech does not include the right to incite violence or sedition. He said Chase played a role in the attack by speaking at the rally and helping flame fires of distrust. He also said she continued to praise rally-goers after the attack, and she must be held accountable for her actions and words.
Although Republican senators voted to remove Chase from her committee assignment, the formal censure received pushback from the caucus.
Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg, said he would not defend Chase’s comments but he defends her right to speak. He said the move to censure the speaker seeks to extinguish free speech and is a threat to democracy.
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