Behind viral photo of Rep. Andy Kim cleaning up at midnight after riots

“I believe blessed to have this chance as a son of immigrants so that you can serve in Congress,” he stated. “Democracy to me is that this position of alternative this is affording me a possibility to do one thing strange.”

Andy Kim at a debate in Newark, N.J., on Oct. 31, 2018.Julio Cortez / AP document

In 2018, Kim changed into the primary Asian American to constitute New Jersey in Congress, flipping a predominantly white district that voted for Trump in 2016 and did so once more in 2020. (Kim gained re-election in November in spite of vote casting to question the president closing yr.)

The irony of a history-making Korean American lawmaker dusting up after a white supremacist rise up isn’t misplaced on Kim. However he additionally pointed to the development that’s been made.

“I constitute a district the place nearly all of other folks don’t appear to be me,” he stated. “However they’ve voted for me two times now to be their consultant, and that’s an exquisite factor. There are others who search to make me appear to be an ‘different’ whether or not it’s on account of pores and skin colour, or gender, or sexuality. However that’s no longer what that is about. We’re all American citizens.”

A former nationwide safety aide underneath Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Kim just lately spoke about how simmering ideological tensions can turn out to be unhealthy right through presidential transitions. However whilst he anticipated the dislike and anger that outlined the Trump technology to escalate within the aftermath of the election, Wednesday’s occasions nonetheless stunned him. Within the more or less six hours he spent sheltered in his workplace, he frightened in regards to the protection of his colleagues and staffers because the pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol.

At one level, he recalled receiving a safety alert that Capitol police had misplaced regulate of the development.

“I’ve spent numerous time in Afghanistan and Iraq, I’ve been in warfare zones the place I’ve needed to refuge in position, however I by no means would have imagined that this is able to occur right here,” he stated, noting that he didn’t know on the time whether or not the rioters have been armed. “It was once a terrifying revel in.”

Bridging the deep racial and ideological chasms on this nation, Kim stated, would require legislative motion to rein within the radicalization of white supremacists and the proliferation of disinformation.

On the similar time, he stated, there will have to even be profound shifts in the best way American citizens deal with one some other on a private degree.

“The intensity of the divisions that we’ve got isn’t one thing any unmarried legislation can wipe off the face of our planet,” he stated. “We additionally wish to acknowledge that how we get via this is through seeing the humanity in each and every different. There are methods we will have debates and disagreements however no longer hotel to violence.”

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