Maine Sen. Angus King is interviewed Sunday night on “60 Minutes.” Photo courtesy of CBS News

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine addressed last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump and his vision for bringing a polarized Congress together during an interview broadcast Sunday night on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”

A “60 Minutes” crew traveled to Maine for the segment. Reporter Jon Wertheim spent time around the Christmas holiday with King in his hometown of Brunswick. He also interviewed the senator at his office in Washington the day after Wednesday’s riot.

Wertheim asked King if he blamed the president for his supporters’ storming of the Capitol, where they destroyed property and threatened the safety of members of Congress. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in connection with the violence.

“I do,” King replied. “Words have consequences, and the higher up you are on the hierarchy, the words have more and more consequences. And the president of the United States has the bully pulpit.”

The intrusion into the Capitol occurred as the House and Senate were in session to certify the Electoral College’s confirmation of Joe Biden as the president-elect.

King said the Trump supporters acted as they did “because they had been told by the president, by the media that they listen to, by talk radio for months going back before the election that the whole thing was illegitimate. They couldn’t trust the courts, they couldn’t trust Congress, and they couldn’t trust the media.”


King also criticized Senate colleagues, in particular Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, for challenging certification of the Electoral College vote. He called their challenge a “stunt” that fomented the rioters and was aimed at engraving the senators’ names on the rolls of those “loyal to Donald Trump.”

“It was a profoundly unpatriotic act in my mind,” King said.

“60 Minutes” correspondent Jon Wertheim talks with Sen. Angus King on the Bowdoin College campus in late December. Photo courtesy of CBS News

King said of Cruz, whom he described as a friend: “I’m disappointed because he knows better. He’s a really smart guy.”

Wertheim said King’s Senate colleagues see him “as a truth teller and voice of reason” and think they perhaps can “turn to him as a guide for repairing the tattered fabric of both the United States Senate and the country at large.”

King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, offered advice to his colleagues on the left on how they might deal effectively with the more than 70 million Americans who voted for Trump.

“There is a term I’ve always liked called eloquent listening. They have to be listened to, and we have to try to understand what’s going on. It’s cultural and somewhat economic. I mean, it’s a very complicated matter, but we can’t just dismiss it,” King said.


Wertheim asked King if there were a way to import the qualities of Maine and its people – placid, measured and reasonable – to Washington, D.C.

“I think those qualities exist all over America, but in many parts of America we just have to try to ring the bell of common sense,” King said.

Maine Sen. Angus King is interviewed by “60 Minutes” at Brunswick’s Frontier Cafe in late December. Photo courtesy of Sen. Angus King’s office

The segment began with an introduction and a question: Who is Angus King?

“He isn’t the more prominent of the two senators from his state (that’s Susan Collins),” the announcer said. “He isn’t the more prominent of the two independents in the Senate (that’s Bernie Sanders). He isn’t even the most prominent man named King from his state (that would be Stephen, the writer). But Angus King is something akin to Atticus Finch on a Harley. A motorcycle riding, duck-hunting, public radio listening straight shooter, unencumbered by party politics.”

When he visits Maine, King, 76, has been known to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to visit constituents.

King served as Maine’s governor from 1995 to 2003. He ran for the Senate in 2012, winning election to the seat being vacated by the retirement of Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

King serves on the Senate Intelligence, Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, and Rules and Administration committees.

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