NEW JERSEY — The threat of Trenton protests on Jan. 17 looms, following a massive insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. last week.
Gov. Phil Murphy and Colonel Pat Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said Monday that NJ authorities are prepared and on high alert.
“We need to bat 1,000 every day. To the governor's point [we] will be prepared, and we trust that if they do show up they do it in a peaceful manner,” said Callahan during an unrelated press conference on coronavirus updates. “That's our request….if people do show up to the statehouse, that they go home safely at the end of it.”
Anyone who has information on a potential threat is also encouraged to reach out to the police.
The Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol led to dozens of injuries and the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer (the state currently has flags at half-staff in his memory). President Donald Trump, who stoked the violent demonstration, has since been banned from Twitter.
As the midday briefing got underway, Murphy pulled up an image of two of last Wednesday’s protesters. Men with anti-Semitic sentiments on their T-shirts.
“So in addition to the broad stroke condemnation of all that happened, let us be very mindful of the fact…anti-Semitism in this world, in this country, and sadly, in this state, is alive and well and runs deep,” Murphy said. “That is an extraordinary set of images to anyone who has not spoken out yet against this insurrection last week. This is who your silence is enabling. This is who you are standing with. This is what you are telegraphing to the world that you're okay with representing. These are images from the most violent and radical fringes of the right wing. And when you refuse to denounce what they've done, that's the same as giving them when you excuse their actions, you empower them to try again.”
While the governor acknowledged that protesting is a right, he advised any of his supporters to stay home Jan. 17, as well as Jan. 20 (the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated).
“I’ve been asked if you were in the House, would you vote to impeach him? Yes, I would,” Murphy said in reference to Trump. “If I were in the Senate I’d vote to convict him. And if I were in his cabinet, I would join on the 25th amendment…even with only nine days to go. I'm normally a big freedom of speech guy. But I think when you're inciting insurrection and you’re the President of the United States, I think it's a bridge too far.”
During the conference, an FBI bulletin shared by ABC News warned of armed protests planned for all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol.
“As of 10 January, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin read.