Statement by Ambassador Eric Stromayer
On January 6, a mob descended on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. in an effort to prevent the U.S. Congress from certifying November’s presidential election results. It was a disturbing sight and an affront to our electoral processes and rule of law.
Violence to resolve political issues is unjustifiable in any nation. Democracy provides citizens orderly procedures to have their grievances and petitions heard. It allows us to decide how to move forward collectively. Storming the seat of government, causing violence, and threatening elected representatives and members of law enforcement is wrong and unacceptable. I expect my nation’s leaders from all political perspectives to unequivocally denounce violence and other undemocratic methods to achieve political ends. I certainly do. The criminals who committed violent acts of terror against our democracy will be held accountable in accordance with the rule of law in the United States.
Despite Wednesday’s tragic events, our institutions did what they are constitutionally mandated to do. Yesterday morning, Congress affirmed that Joe Biden is the President-elect and he will be duly inaugurated on January 20. Demonstrating the strength of U.S democracy this affirmation was not a mere formality, but also ensured that our democratic processes and the will of the people prevail. Also, President Trump confirmed support for a peaceful transition.
January 6, 2021 will also be remembered for the state of Georgia’s historic run-off election in which voters in that state elected their first African American senator (Reverend Raphael Warnock) and their first Jewish senator (Jon Ossoff), reinforcing the importance of promoting diversity in the United States.
The events of 2020 and the last week are good reasons to reflect on who and what we want to be as a country both at home and abroad. I am reminded of the oath that I and my fellow American colleagues have taken to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. In my view that is key for our democracy. We swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, not an oath to support an individual, position, or political party.
I hope we will all learn from the lessons of 2020 and move forward, working together, with grace and professionalism, for the good of both the American and Togolese people. I thank the Togolese who sent messages of support during this difficult time. The enduring friendship and partnership between the United States and Togo will endure and thrive as we recommit to supporting and living up to our democratic ideals.