The “inflammatory statements and actions of Senator Amanda F. Chase before, during, and after the events that led to the insurrection . . . constitute a failure to uphold her oath of office and conduct unbecoming of a Senator,” the resolution reads.
Chase responded Thursday with a heated 10-minute floor speech, which she’d urged supporters to watch remotely, tweeting, “Get your popcorn folks and tune into the Senate tomorrow.” She denied encouraging insurrection but embraced comparisons to President Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the state but retains a strong following among the Republican base.
“The people of America had no one to fight for them until Trump. The people of Virginia had no one to fight for us until me,” she declared. “And like the president, I tell the truth and I don’t surrender.”
Sen. John J. Bell (D-Loudoun) filed the censure measure Wednesday, the opening day of the General Assembly session. By Thursday, nine Democratic senators had signed on as co-sponsors.
Bell said he hopes the resolution, which a Senate committee could take up next week, will win bipartisan support.
“I hope people will not view this as a political attack, but really standing for the integrity of the body and that oaths do mean something,” said Bell, a retired Air Force major.
Censure is a formal rebuke that requires approval from a simple majority in the Senate, which Democrats control 21 to 18, with one vacancy. Passage would not result in Chase’s removal or strip her of any committee assignments. She previously lost all but one committee post — on the Local Government panel, which typically deals with low-profile bills — as punishment for cursing at a Capitol Police officer in Richmond in 2019.
Senate Republicans have been on the outs with Chase for years, but some are wary that censure would reward her with more attention.
On the morning of Jan. 6, Chase spoke on a stage not far from where Trump would later address a massive crowd. From a glass podium, she told the crowd that the election had been “stolen” and played up her efforts to fight gun control in Virginia, according to a video posted on her official Senate page, which Facebook suspended last week. The size of Chase’s audience is not visible, but only a few voices can be heard reacting to her.
“I’ve been called the Annie Oakley of the Senate because I open carried through the Capitol in Virginia,” she said.
In her remarks to the Senate, Chase said she’d done nothing to encourage insurrection.
“I have never once called for violence,” said Chase, who left Washington before the riot got underway.
But she also rehashed debunked claims of election fraud for her fellow senators and described the Capitol attack as an act of patriotism.
“These were not rioters and looters,” she said. “These were patriots who loved their country and do not want to see our great republic turned into a socialist country. I was there with the people. I know.”