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Congressman Peter Welch Holds Town Hall With Vermonters On Insurrection And Impeachment

Congressman Peter Welch
Vermont Congressman Peter Welch (file)

On the eve of a sea change in Washington, Vermont Congressman Peter Welch held a telephone town hall with his constituents Tuesday evening.  Most of the questions centered on accountability following the January 6th mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Democratic Representative-at-large Peter Welch advertised the town hall as an opportunity to discuss the assault on the Capitol and President Donald Trump’s second impeachment.  He began with a firsthand account of his experience in the capitol. Welch said the evidence is clear now former President Trump incited the insurrection.  “It was an absolute use of intimidation and force, violence, in an effort to topple the election the results of the American people. And it’s the most terrible thing an elected official can do let alone the President of the United States. All power in our democracy has to flow from people not from politicians.”

Welch said the Senate must move expeditiously to impeachment and convict. Marilyn from Wilder was curious why resources should continue to be used on impeachment when Trump is out of office.  “Perhaps there is some way to deal with what happened in less of an obvious manner and continue to give ex-President Trump a platform. I’m not trying to make light of the fact this was a bad thing to do. Just kind of a question is there a way to do this with less publicity?”
Welch:  “You can’t have unity without accountability. So are we just going to turn a blind eye and essentially allow a cover up because it’s inconvenient?   Number two: the timing of this impeachment is a result of the timing of the President’s incitement of this insurrection. He was the one who picked the timing and we can’t just disregard that.”

A number of callers want accountability for those who participated. Middlebury resident Edward served in Vietnam and said he was appalled.  “These people blackened the sanctity of our Congressional building. I fought for two years and nine months to keep that sanctity healthy. They deserve to be brought to justice.  It’s made me very angry that these people didn’t have enough care for our Capitol building and our way of life and our Democracy to try to upset our government. This should not be let go without punishment.”

Some Vermonters like Sarah from Randolph are concerned that members of Congress may have helped facilitate the insurrection.  “I have a lot of worries about those members of Congress on the Republican side may have in some way given support to the insurrection.  It has to be rooted out. We can’t let that behavior go unchallenged.”
Welch:  “There is an investigation now underway as to whether or not some members of Congress actually provided reconnaissance tours to some of the people that were involved in the assault on Congress. But if it turns out that some of my colleagues were actively involved in assisting in the insurrection then they should be expelled from Congress and probably prosecuted.”

Some callers like David from Berkshire want Congress to focus on legislation and stop playing what he called a blame game.   “When does Congress start to take its own ownership as to what happened?  If you guys would concentrate on what’s going on and thinking forward as to how are we going to better after this.  All you are doing is blaming and carrying on the same exact trends as keep happening.”
Congressman Welch described Washington as a city in lockdown.  He said he is enthusiastic that there is a new administration that will focus on the COVID pandemic and economic relief.


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