A Democratic Congressman from the Hudson Valley has signed onto a resolution to impeach President Trump following the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. First-term Congressman Mondaire Jones spoke with WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne Thursday night.
Jones, who represents New York 17th District, says Wednesday’s events horrified people here and around the world.
“And there must be consequences for the near death of hundreds of members of Congress, myself included, and the violent insurrection and attempt to overthrow our government at the hands of the President of the United States and his sycophants who will do anything that he tells him to do, including take over the Capitol building. There must be consequences for this, we have to signal to this president and his acolytes in the Republican Party, who are watching to see whether he can get away with this, and whether they too in the future can get away with similar conduct,” Jones says. “And of course, we have to educate the American people through impeachment, that what happened yesterday was a result of Donald Trump's rhetoric and his direct invitation of the people who support him to, to do violence to members of Congress and their staff.
“Congressmen, is this something that maybe you would take, I mean, for this to happen in the amount of time seems unlikely. The Republicans certainly won't be on board with this. Is this something that under a Biden administration, you could do, again, with the goal of ensuring that the President does not run again in 2024?” asks Dunne.
We can impeach the president of the United States in the coming days. And there's no reason why we should not. And I say that regardless of what happens with respect to the 25th amendment. Clearly, we're seeing members of the Trump cabinet resign rather than face the, the, the act of courage of finally standing up to this president. You know, I saw Elaine Chao issued a statement that said what happened yesterday deeply troubled her, and as a result, she'll be resigning from her post as a cabinet secretary. The problem is, he's been doing criminal, unlawful stuff for the past four years, and no one in his administration has stood up to him in a meaningful way,” Jones says. “And so I'm not relying on people who have long disgraced themselves to do the right thing. In any event, it is the constitutional prerogative and responsibility of Congress to be a check on the executive branch and to model good behavior for this country. And that is precisely what I'm doing by co-sponsoring Articles of Impeachment; by supporting, yes, invocation of the 25th amendment, and by co-sponsoring a resolution to expel members of Congress who were complicit, who were accomplices and co-conspirators in the incitement of violence that we saw yesterday.”
President Trump late Thursday, as several of his top aides resigned, called the attack on the Capitol heinous, and said he is focused on ensuring a smooth transition of power. Jones joined 12 of his colleagues earlier in the day, including newcomer Jamaal Bowman of the 16th district, in introducing a resolution to impeach President Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors. And there are 12 co-sponsors. Invoking the 25th Amendment would require Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office. New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are among the Democrats calling for Trump’s immediate removal. The FBI is investigating the insurrection. Jones and other lawmakers wonder how pro-Trump rioters were able to storm the Capitol as they did.
“The security breaches yesterday were extraordinary and unthinkable. We have to be logical about this. There was ample evidence and ample time, evidence of the fact that there will be large crowds, many of them sharing Trump's violent ideology. We knew that one of, perhaps the biggest day of in recent history, next to the presidential election itself, would, would be the certification of the presidential election, based on the false allegations of voter fraud that Donald Trump and his acolytes have been making over the past several months. And we have certainly seen a relatively higher level of security for peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters last summer,” says Jones. “And so we know that there was the capacity and we know that there was the requisite information to keep us safe. So why did it come to be that myself and approximately two other members, 200 other members of Congress were on the House floor when the Capitol was under siege, and the House chamber was nearly under siege, had we not been evacuated just a few minutes before to another more secure location.”
The 17th District includes all of Rockland County and part of Westchester.