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Ralph Northam Invokes January 6th To Explain Slow Response To Freezing, Stranded Drivers
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - MARCH 30: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at an event titled “Transforming Rail in Virginia” at the Amtrak-VRE station in March 30, 2021 in Alexandria, Virginia. The Transforming Rail in Virginia program will cost about $3.7 billion and will double Amtrak service and double Virginia Railway Express (VRE) service along the I-95 corridor, as well as work toward the separation of freight and passenger lines. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam invoked the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill when he was asked Tuesday why it took so long to deploy the National Guard in an effort to assist stranded and freezing motorists caught in the snow and ice on I-95 in his state.

Mike Valerio, who covers the White House, justice, and election security for CBS affiliate WUSA9, tweeted, “4PM UPDATE – Virginia Gov. Northam just described the response to the January 6th Insurrection, saying it took a long time to deploy the National Guard, as a way of illustrating why his office says the Guard could not be deployed to I-95 on such short notice.”

Valerio added, “4PM UPDATE – Virginia Gov. Northam says still, no injuries on I-95, as thousands are trapped. Says State Troopers are walking up and down offering food, medicine, to people in need.”

Reuters foreign policy correspondent Idrees Ali appeared to contradict Northam’s claim, however, noting that the disastrous road conditions had come up at Tuesday’s Pentagon briefing — and no one there had been asked for help.

“The situation on the I-95 is so bad, that it is (rightly) being asked about at the Pentagon briefing and whether the military has offered to help the situation. Pentagon says no request have been made for them to help,” Ali said.

Best I can tell, there have been thousands of VA motorists trapped in freezing conditions for 26+ hours, some of them surely children, seniors and people in need of food, medicine, water, etc. and Ralph Northam…sent a tweet about it 7 hours ago,” Rory Cooper added.

Northam’s statement, which he tweeted early Tuesday, said as follows:

My team has been working throughout the night alongside @VSPPIO, @VaDOT, and @VDEM to respond to the situation on I-95. State and local emergency personnel are continuing to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles, and re-route drivers.

An emergency message is going to all stranded drivers connecting them to support, and the state is working with localities to open warming shelters as needed. While sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road, all Virginians should continue to avoid 1-95.

Among those stranded — for over 27 hours — was Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), who was on his way to his office at the Capitol when he got stuck on the road.

I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol. My office is in touch with @VaDOT to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone,” Kaine tweeted Tuesday morning, later following with an update saying that he had been on the road for 27 hours.

Upon his arrival at the Capitol, Kaine shared his relief — and a photo — in another tweet.

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