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January 07, 2021

New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim joined late night cleanup efforts at U.S. Capitol

The South Jersey congressman says nation has a 'long road ahead' to recovery

In the aftermath of Wednesday's insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, where four people died and dozens were arrested, much of the mess and wreckage inside the government building remained to be cleaned up.

Both Congressional chambers worked through the night to eventually certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, but that wasn't a wrap for U.S. Rep. Andy Kim.

The New Jersey congressman was pictured assisting cleanup crews at the Capitol early Thursday morning. An estimate for damages has not yet been determined. 

The Korean American lawmaker, a former national security official, appeared Thursday morning on Pix11 News.

"It was horrifying to see one of the temples of our democracy treated in that way, and we really didn't know what was going on at that time," Kim said. "We didn't know if the people coming in were armed."

Kim went on to explain his decision to help with the clean-up effort. 

"The Capitol is our home," Kim said. "As I was cleaning up, I saw a plaque that reminded us that George Washington laid the cornerstone of that building. It's, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in the country. I love and I think last night with all the pain that was happening and the crisis, I felt in some ways my patriotism renewed and heightened, actually."

On Wednesday, Kim tweeted about the mob attack at the Capitol, saying he was safe but heartbroken by the events in Washington, D.C. 

Kim won his reelection bid in November against GOP challenger David Richter, having flipped the district from red to blue in 2018. He represents portions of Burlington and Ocean counties. 

Looking ahead, Kim said he believes the country has a lot of work to do to overcome the climate that led to Wednesday's chaos at the Capitol. 

"We've just gotten to this level where the partisanship just becomes so corrosive, and toxic to our communities and our society," Kim said. "We've gotten to the point where we just do not see each other as Americans first. I think that that's a real shame and a huge problem. This is not something we can legislate away or investigate away. This is going to be a long road ahead for recovery."