The Senate’s sergeant-at-arms has been sacked amid an outcry from lawmakers demanding his firing.
Michael Stenger stepped down from his post as the upper chamber’s highest-ranking law enforcement official under pressure from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his Democratic counterpart Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Fox News reported, after a riot broke out Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
A mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building on Wednesday while Congress was in joint session certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Five people died in the unrest, including a Trump supporter who was shot dead by police, as well as a police officer, USA Today reports.
Wednesday’s events have sparked calls for retaliation against President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers who objected to Joe Biden’s victory, as well as Capitol security officials who failed to stop the chaos.
Condemning a “failure of leadership,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanded the resignation of the Capitol Police chief, who soon agreed to step down along with the House’s sergeant-at-arms, Politico reported.
McConnell announced that the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms had also agreed to resign Thursday as he criticized Stenger’s “serious failures.”
“Today I requested and received the resignation of Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, effective immediately,” the GOP senator said in a statement, according to Fox.
Outcry from lawmakers
McConnell’s move came after his Democratic rival — and potentially America’s next Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer — threatened to fire the sergeant-at-arms at the soonest opportunity.
“If Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger hasn’t vacated the position by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” Schumer said, as Fox reported.
A number of lawmakers have similarly complained about a lack of protection, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) saying the police ought to have used “lethal force” against the “domestic terrorists.”
“Yesterday they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all,” he said, according to Fox. “Warning shots should have been fired. Lethal force should have been used once they penetrated the seat of government.”
The sackings come as an embattled President Trump essentially conceded defeat to Joe Biden on Thursday night amid calls for his removal from power and an apparent severing of ties with his party, as some Republicans threaten to assist efforts to remove him from office. Former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah, who left the Trump administration in December, has called on Trump to resign over his “lies” about the 2020 election, The Hill reports.