House Democrats and a handful of Republicans on Wednesday voted to impeach President Trump for a second time, citing his incitement of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne has reaction from a few Hudson Valley House members.
First-term Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones of the 17th district delivered his first speech on the House floor since taking office.
“Who knew that my first speech on the House floor would be in connection with the second impeachment of Donald J. Trump, a lawless, unhinged dangerous president who poses an existential threat to our democracy,” Jones says. “I had hoped maybe I would be speaking about the For the People Act, or the need to pass real COVID-19 relief.”
Ten Republicans voted in favor of impeachment, including a congressman from New York — John Katko. Jones is the Freshman Representative to Leadership, and the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team.
“I had great appreciation for the opportunity to take a leading role in the impeachment of this president. I was one of the earliest members of the House to call for this course of action,” Jones says. “And I think that speaks to a new, more urgent style of leadership in the freshman class, folks who are not going to debate the need to do everything within their power to neutralize the threat to this country by removing President Trump from office, and was given the opportunity to lead on that issue by Speaker Pelosi.”
The storming of the Capitol came during Congress’s constitutionally-mandated certification of the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. New York-19 Democratic Congressman Antonio Delgado delivered a prepared statement after voting to impeach Trump.
“I voted to protect and defend our democracy and the Constitution of the United States. With this vote, the House both affirmed and united around our nation's democratic principles, including the peaceful transition of power; equality under the law; one person, one vote,” says Delgado. “I now call upon on the Senate to follow the bipartisan example of the House and to act swiftly in order to defend our democracy from ongoing threats.”
Democratic 18th District Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, speaking Monday ahead of his vote to impeach the president, called last week’s insurrection the gravest betrayal in American history of the presidential oath of office.
“Nothing like this has happened in the 244 years that we have been a country. No group of Americans has ever broken into the United States Capitol and engaged in this kind of violence, never, not once in two-and--a half centuries.” Maloney says. “So you tell me whether this is an extraordinary moment or not. And I think that more than justifies the impeachment and removal of the President and accountability for all those who enabled this.”
Jones, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, outlines what he believes are next steps.
“What’s next is Congress must move to hold responsible members of the House and Senate who were co-conspirators in the incitement of last week’s violent insurrection. These are people who, in several instances, were either tweeting out the location of the speaker as we were seeking to evade the mob of domestic terrorists or, it has been reported, were giving inside information, including perhaps taking some of these terrorists on a reconnaissance mission the day before so that they had familiarity with the, with the physical makeup of the Capitol and legislative offices. And then, of course, many of these people continue to violate House rules by bringing firearms into legislative office buildings and the Capitol. These are the same people who cannot be trusted not to have conspired with the domestic terrorists that attempted to overthrow the government last week. So we have to make sure that we are addressing that clear and present danger as well,” says Jones. “And then we will do the really important work of passing legislation in the first 100 days of the Biden/Harris Administration that delivers real COVID-19 relief, including direct aid for state and local municipalities; passing the For the People Act, which contains a set of critical democracy reforms to strengthen our democracy from threats both foreign and domestic; and moving forward with passing the George Floyd Racial Justice in Policing Act, and so many other things — environmental legislation, comprehensive immigration reform, you name it.”
In a statement, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says even if the Senate began a trial this week, there could be no verdict before the transition of power January 20th. And after the House vote, he said in a letter to his GOP colleagues that he hasn’t decided whether he will vote to convict Trump.