Sen. Amanda Chase ‘will absolutely not resign’
Va. Dems, NoVa Chamber call for resignation after Chase spoke at D.C. Trump rally that led to Capitol breach
UPDATED 4:40 P.M., JAN. 8
Virginia Senate Democrats called Friday for the resignation of Republican state Sen. Amanda Chase, who spoke at the pro-Trump demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that turned violent and led to a breach of the U.S. Capitol, but Chase says she “absolutely” will not leave her office.
Facebook placed restrictions on Chase’s Senate Facebook page for 60 days beginning Friday, Jan. 8. The Chesterfield County state senator who is running for this year’s GOP gubernatorial nomination, had posted video and photos from the pro-Trump demonstration near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. In December, she made news for a Facebook post calling for Trump to declare “martial law” in order to remain in power after President Donald Trump’s loss to President-elect Joe Biden in the November 2020 election. Based on a live video she posted Wednesday afternoon, Chase was headed back to Richmond during the siege on the Capitol.
However, a statement issued by Senate Democrats Friday says, “As we all watched in shock and disbelief at the insurrection in Washington, D.C., Senator and gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase was horrifyingly empowering a failed coup d’état. She galvanized domestic terrorists who violated the United States Capitol on Wednesday afternoon through riots, destruction, and desecration, joining them on their march to Capitol Hill. For someone who defends herself and the insurrectionists she calls ‘patriots’ with the Constitution, she either willfully or unwittingly doesn’t understand what her sworn oath to defend it actually means. She has unequivocally committed insurrection, and the Fourteenth Amendment to that same Constitution charges us with the responsibility of holding her accountable.
“Senator Chase has not demonstrated either good judgement or leadership for Senate District 11 or the commonwealth of Virginia. It is in the best interest for the Senate of Virginia and her constituents [for Chase] to resign.”
The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which disinvited Chase to speak in July 2020, issued a statement Friday in support of the calls for Chase’s resignation: “As we continue to reflect on the attacks on the U.S. Capitol, we are unfortunately faced with the fact that Virginia must also act to prevent similar violence here. We want to state our unequivocal support for the calls for Sen. Amanda Chase to resign. Her rhetoric and actions caused us to cancel her planned appearance before our membership last summer, and she continues to espouse hate, spread lies and, now, incite violence with her presence at the protests of the Electoral College results in Washington, D.C. It is clear to all that Sen. Chase possesses neither the judgement nor composure to hold public office. … Sen. Chase poses a clear threat to the commonwealth and should step down immediately.”
In an exclusive interview with Virginia Business on Friday, Chase said she “will absolutely not resign.” She added that she left the rally at the end of President Trump’s address, during which he told the crowd to march on the U.S. Capitol. Chase said the head of her security team told her they needed to leave to get ahead of the crowds that they expected to disperse at the end of Trump’s speech, adding that she didn’t feel unsafe and did not hear the president encouraging people to go to the Capitol building.
Back at a hotel room Chase and her team had reserved, she says, “we turned on the TV, and that’s when we saw the press reports” of a breach at the Capitol, as well as the declaration of a 6 p.m. Wednesday curfew in D.C. At that point, Chase said, her team decided it was best to head back to Richmond.
Chase said she does not “approve of any violence that took place” at the Capitol and characterized the crowds that entered the building as “desperate people because their voices weren’t being heard.” She also continued to say without evidence that Antifa activists were possibly behind the breach at the Capitol.
In posts on Facebook, Chase claimed without evidence that anti-fascist, or antifa, activists had “infiltrated” the crowd breaching the Capitol. “Antifa is the culprit. Listen to Patriots who told them to stop,” Chase posted Thursday afternoon, the most recent post on her official Senate page. Facebook tagged a link to a tweet on the post as “False Information.”
Chase said Friday that she still has doubts about the legitimacy of Virginia’s 2020 ballots and said that “until we do a full audit here in Virginia, we’ll never know.” In November, Virginia Deputy Commissioner of Elections Jessica Bowman said in a statement that the state was “not aware of any substantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud in Virginia.”
According to a screenshot provided to Virginia Business by Chase, Facebook has restricted her state Senate Facebook page from going live or advertising for the next 60 days, and Chase has been banned from posting or commenting on the page for seven days.
Her personal Facebook page, however, is still active, and she spread the news of her restriction in a public post there Friday, saying, “Facebook continues to restrict free speech. Because what I have to say does not fit their narrative, my Senator Amanda Chase page has been silenced for 60 days. We no longer have free speech here in America.”
She said Friday that Facebook had removed two videos she had posted Wednesday, which she provided to Virginia Business. Both appear to be on the Washington Mall, with the Washington Monument in the background; the first features Chase speaking about the “Save America March” event, and the second shows fellow Trump supporters among the crowd, cheering. However, other videos from the event remained on her Senate and personal Facebook pages on Friday.
Chase said that she has emailed Facebook for a response and says that their earlier communication with her about the two removed videos indicated they “did not meet their community standards” and that her Senate page “was at risk of being unpublished.” As of Friday afternoon, Chase said she had not received a further response from Facebook, but that she had been busy fielding press calls since the morning.
The restrictions on Chase’s page come after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that President Donald Trump has been indefinitely blocked from posting on his Facebook and Instagram accounts out of concern for public safety. “His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the U.S. and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.”
On both her personal Facebook page and her Senate page, Chase posted videos from Washington, D.C., during Trump’s “Save America March” event, which drew about 30,000 supporters of the president. Trump addressed the crowd for about an hour and encouraged them to march to the Capitol building, where Congress was starting the certification of Biden’s Electoral College ballots. Chase’s postings on Facebook indicate that she left either shortly before or during the breach of the Capitol building that led to evacuation and lockdown of legislators, staffers and journalists before control was regained around 6 p.m. Wednesday.
In a two-minute live video Chase posted on her Senator page at 3:32 p.m. Wednesday, Chase speaks from inside a vehicle saying she is being “taken to safety” after Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser “has put the city on lockdown,” referring to a curfew that went into effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Chase mentions “people who are storming the Capitol right now” and that she has heard about shots being fired.
“Everything that I saw earlier today was very peaceful,” Chase said in the video, adding that she spoke around 10 a.m. at the rally. After seeing the president speak in the early afternoon, she says in the video that her team told her they needed to leave for safety reasons, although in her interview with Virginia Business, she says they left just to get ahead of the crowds after Trump’s speech. In the video, Chase asked her viewers to “say a prayer” for those in the crowd that entered the Capitol.
In the interview, Chase said “it’s very tragic what happened” regarding the death of a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was taken off life support Friday after sustaining critical injuries during the breach. Officer Brian D. Sicknick, a Northern Virginia resident, was a military veteran and an officer for 12 years. “My thoughts and prayers go to their family,” Chase added.
Earlier Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statement about Sicknick’s death, which occurred after someone struck him on the head with a fire extinguisher, according to a release from the U.S. Capitol Police.
“Officer Sicknick died as a result of injuries sustained during the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday. He was 42 years old and a military veteran who had served with the United States Capitol Police for 12 years,” Northam said in his statement. “Officer Sicknick was killed while doing his job — defending those trapped in the Capitol building amid a violent attack on our democracy. His death is a tragedy, and those responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”