DES MOINES, Iowa — House Minority Leader Todd Prichard began his opening remarks bluntly. “Make no doubt we are living in tumultuous times,” said the Democratic representative from Floyd County.
As the nation seems fractured, Iowa House leaders set a tone for a session of unity. “We are the leaders that must work together and restore faith and hope in our future. We do this together,” said Prichard.
Prichard compared the actions of Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to what he witnessed during his 25-year military career. “The riot in DC reminded me of time in El Salvador right after their civil war in the 90s,” said Prichard. “Early in my Army career when I was stationed there, I witnessed a country torn apart by hate, violence and mistrust.”
Prichard called out some mistrust that he believes was sparked by his own colleagues and referred to posts from Republican State Rep. Dean Fisher of Tama County. On Jan. 6, the day of the U.S. Capitol riot, Fisher wrote on Facebook, “The events unfolding today at the US Capitol are a result of widespread mistrust in our election processes, and that mistrust is laid solely at the feet of the Democratic party.”
Prichard said, “Rioters have been motivated by lies contrived for political purposes.”
Fisher also replied to a constituent that same day and said, “We will survive. remember our side has the guns, the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”
In Prichard’s opening remarks to the general assembly, he said, “This behavior threatens our democracy and our society. It’s time must end.”
In an effort to show bipartisan support, House Majority Speaker and Republican Matt Windschitl of Harrison County defiantly denounced the recent events at the U.S. Capitol. “Leader Prichard, violence and anarchy of any kind is unacceptable. Doesn’t matter what the political ideology is and so let me as the Majority Leader of the Iowa House stand here today and say I denounce it,” said Windschitl, who received a standing ovation for his comment.
Flags continue to fly half-staff at the Iowa State Capitol for the two U.S. Capitol police officers who died from the result of the riot. Prichard issued a challenge to all lawmakers and said their silence on the country’s current divide will be deafening. Prichard said, “As an elected leader, I am disgusted at the reaction or inaction of some and many of my Republican colleagues in Iowa.”
It’s an early issue that leaders say needs to reach across the aisle for a better Iowa and a better United States. “Put country and state ahead of party politics. In other words, be a true patriot,” said Prichard.
Fisher was not available to comment about his posts, which have since been removed.