Montana’s new congressman, Republican Matt Rosendale, reflected on Wednesday’s harrowing day at the U.S. Capitol and what he’ll be focusing on in his first term in an interview with MTN News.
Representatives had just begun debate on an objection to the vote in Arizona when they got word that a breach had occurred—it wasn’t long afterward they were being told to evacuate.
Here's a partial transcript of the interview.
Rep. Rosendale: Every time they would slam a door, you could see that nerves were on the edge. They weren’t sure if it was a firearm discharged or what. I started to help people get their gas masks on and then when most of the folks were out of the room, I went ahead and joined with them. Once we exited the House chambers, that’s when I saw the protesters for the first time. They were behind a door that it already been locked and secured.
Riesinger: How concerning is that this could’ve been far worse?
Rep. Rosendale: Oh, it could’ve been, but a lot of things could be a lot worse. I try to look at the positive side and I don’t like the idea that people did penetrate the Capitol. They were looking to conduct violence that is not good, but the Capitol Police did their job and they kept us safe.
Riesinger: A lot of your fellow lawmakers are pointing the blame for this directly on President Trump. Does he share some of the blame for this?
Rep. Rosendale: Well, people who committed the acts of violence must take responsibility for their actions, which are completely contrary to the peaceful process that our government provides.
Riesinger: You don’t think he fanned the flames?
Rep. Rosendale: No, people need to take responsibility for their own actions, Russ.
After about three hours—lawmakers returned to finish their work and certified Joe Biden as president—despite a majority of House Republicans, including Rosendale, rejecting the results from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Riesinger: What has been the reaction from your constituents back here Montana?
Rep. Rosendale: It’s split and I anticipated that, but the people of Montana elected me not to check the wings of polls on the daily basis. What they did was elect me to come up here and listen for information to evaluate with the best of my abilities and then to cast a vote. And when I sat there on the floor I listened to the discussion about the numerous extensive, credible allegations of fraud and irregularities that took place in Arizona and Pennsylvania and that is why I voted to oppose those electors.
Rep. Rosendale said that he believes the transition to Joe Biden as president will go smoothly and said he’s anxious to get to work.
Riesinger: What are your priorities?
Rep. Rosendale: I’m very focused on health care. Health care issues are not going away, Russ. We still have a long ways to go until we have affordable high-quality health care for everyone and make sure that we cover these pre-existing conditions.
Rosendale also said he is really concerned about security on the southern border with Mexico and immigration issues.