SCHENECTADY — Former 20th Congressional District candidate Liz Joy said Thursday that the riotous attack on the U.S. Capitol by extremists distracted from the legitimate concern millions of people have about the integrity of last year’s presidential election.
Joy, a Republican and Conservative candidate from Schenectady who lost by a substantial margin to U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko last November, is a Trump supporter who attended the president’s large rally Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.
The rally drew tens of thousands of people, and was so large that Joy — who traveled to Washington in a chartered bus, limited to 18 people due to COVID concerns — said she didn’t know about the extremists entering the Capitol building until her group was returning to its bus.
“We were pretty far away, like three football fields away,” she said. “Where we were, it was very calm, there was no violence.”
From where she was, Joy said she saw a large American flag being draped over part of the Capitol building, and was talking calmly with a Capitol police officer when there was a popping noise from the direction of the Capitol and they saw greenish smoke in the distance — the apparent discharge of pepper spray or tear gas.
Trump has repeatedly charged widespread election fraud led to his loss to Joe Biden, despite the fact election officials and courts in multiple states have found no evidence of significant fraud. But Joy said she doesn’t hold Trump responsible for the violence, as Tonko and a growing number of other Democrats do. She believes leftist extremists infiltrated the crowd and led the break-in, though she acknowledges “overzealous” Trump supporters then followed, once the building had been breached.
“I think what happened yesterday at the Capitol has taken away from the hopes of people who came out (to Washington) to express their honest concerns about election integrity,” Joy said.
She condemned the violence and called the attack “a sad day for the country.”
“Those were extremists,” Joy said. “Ninety-nine percent of the hundreds of thousands there were there out of true concern for election integrity.”
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