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Northeast Leaders React To Trump's Second Impeachment

Trump photo by Gage Skidmore, composite image by WAMC News.

President Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday by the U.S. House over last week’s deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol. He is the only president to be impeached twice.

With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”

The following are statements from some federal representatives in the WAMC listening area following Wednesday’s vote.

Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer - New York:

“Donald Trump has deservedly become the first president in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice over. The Senate is required to act and will proceed with his trial and hold a vote on his conviction. Despite the efforts of Donald Trump and violent insurrectionists, America is not a dictatorship. We have been and will forever remain a Democracy that respects and reveres the rule of law, including the bedrock principle that the voters choose our leaders—that just power can only derive from the consent of the governed.

Now that the House of Representatives has acted, the Senate will hold a fair trial on the impeachment of Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and attempting to overturn a free and fair election. A Senate trial can begin immediately, with agreement from the current Senate Majority Leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19th. But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again. The president of the United States incited a violent mob against the duly elected government of the United States in a vicious, depraved and desperate attempt to remain in power. For the sake of our democracy, it cannot and must not be tolerated, excused, or go unpunished.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren - Massachusetts:

"Donald Trump just made history as the only U.S. president to be impeached twice. For the sake of our democracy, let’s make history again by making him the first president to be convicted by the Senate."

Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones - NY 17th District: 

"There must be consequences for last week’s treason & sedition. Today’s impeachment sends the message that no one in the United States of America is above the law. The world is watching."

Democratic Congressman Antonio Delgado - NY 19th District:

"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. I now call upon the Senate to follow the bipartisan example of the House and act swiftly in order to defend our democracy from ongoing threats."

Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal - Connecticut:

“Donald Trump is a clear, urgent threat to the safety of American lives. President Trump instigated and inflamed a violent attack on the United States Capitol. As a direct result of President Trump’s actions, at least five people are dead, including two Capitol Police officers. The impeachment of Donald Trump is essential to protect our national security and the peaceful transition of power. The people who say that impeaching President Trump is divisive are assuming that Republicans are divided with us on the basic issue of whether a president can incite a riot or voice support for violent extremism, which is what he did. Allowing this kind of conduct to go unchecked would be ruinous for our democracy. Senator McConnell must bring the Senate back into session immediately to begin a trial.”

Democratic Congresswoman Jahana Hayes - Connecticut's 5th District: 

“I echo the words of Liz Cheney, leader in the Republican conference, ‘The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko - NY 20th District: 

"Today, my colleagues and I came together from across the partisan divide to stand on the side of truth and safeguard the founding principles of our democracy: we voted to impeach President Trump. He spent years using his bully pulpit to normalize violence and spread lies and conspiracy, all of which fed into his efforts to undermine the 2020 election and drove a mob to assault the Capitol last week in a siege that left six Americans dead—including two Capitol Police officers—and dozens injured, some of them permanently. We cannot preach unity without justice. The more we learn about this seditious attack on the People’s House, the clearer it becomes that it was planned and orchestrated. We cannot claim to uphold our Constitutional oath unless we hold our leaders accountable for their actions. This president poses a real and imminent threat to our republic and our people every day he remains in power. I urge my Senate colleagues to uphold their sworn oath to the Constitution and remove Donald Trump from office immediately. If inciting deadly violence against a co-equal branch of government in the citadel of our democracy isn’t a removable offense, then nothing is."

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney - NY 18th District:

“One week ago, we saw the gravest betrayal in American history of the presidential oath of office. The commander-in-chief incited a violent attack on our Capitol during the tabulation of the Electoral College vote. I was a witness to these events. He did this to overturn the results of a valid American presidential election. The resulting violence caused incalculable damage and loss of life, including of a Capitol Police officer. These actions demand his immediate impeachment and removal as provided by the Constitution. This action must be taken now to separate the President immediately from the awesome powers of his office that he might yet misuse to overturn the will of the people and the peaceful transfer of power.”

Democratic Congressman Richard Neal - Massachusetts 1st District:

"The seditious act we witnessed on January 6th was unprecedented, and President Trump’s response to this horrific attack and deadly insurrection was inexcusable. When the citadel of our democracy comes under attack, actions taken by the President need to be swift and unwavering. Instead, the President incited this mob. He called on his supporters to come to Washington, to march to the Capitol and to fight. When my colleagues plead with him to call off his supporters and their dangerous actions, he ignored them. What occurred last Wednesday afternoon was an affront to our historic republic, and the President illustrated his complete inability to lead this country with honor and effectively fulfill his constitutional duty."

Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern - Massachusetts 2nd District:

Donald Trump organized and incited a riot that attacked our freedom and democracy. For the sake of the country and for the sake of the world, he needs to be removed from office — as soon as possible.

Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik - NY 21st District: 

“I am vehemently opposed to the snap impeachment of President Trump. It is a partisan ploy with no basis in the Constitution. The Democrats' decision to impeach the President with one week remaining in his term further fuels the divisions in the country during this very trying time. As Members of the United States Congress, we should focus on unifying our country by delivering solutions to the American people."

Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders - Vermont:

“In this unprecedented moment, the new Democratic majority must show that we can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Yes. We must impeach Trump. Yes. We must process Biden's nominees. Yes. We must pass legislation that addresses the enormous crises facing working families.”

Democratic Vermont Congressman Peter Welch 

“If we want unity, we must have accountability. Congress must impeach.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy - Vermont

“Today’s decisive and bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump was nothing less than a vote to preserve our democracy.

President Trump has not simply failed to uphold his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, which itself would be sufficient to warrant his impeachment and removal.  He has emerged as the greatest threat to the Constitution and to American democracy in a generation.

He sparked the flames of sedition and has fanned them relentlessly.  For months he has lied about the election in an effort to undermine Americans’ faith in our democracy.  He has promoted division, disruption, and violence.  He has attempted to thwart our nation’s unbroken history of a constitutional and peaceful transfer of power.  And he has incited and promoted a riot that laid siege to our Capitol building — the very heart of our democracy.  Insurrectionists chanting his name viciously beat Capitol Police officers protecting the building.  They called for the death of the Vice President, they temporarily delayed Congress from fulfilling our constitutional duty to certify the election of President-Elect Joe Biden, and they left a trail of destruction in their wake including the deaths of five people.  President Trump bears responsibility for this attack.  Even President Nixon understood he had to resign after his crimes were exposed, and this President’s crimes are far worse.  The fact that he has disavowed any responsibility for the violent assault on our democracy makes clear that he is unworthy of public trust, unworthy of the office he holds, and must be removed.

Senate Democrats are ready to try the President for his high crimes and misdemeanors now.  Given the threat he continues to pose to our system of government, we owe it to the American people and to the Constitution to do so.  I hope that Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans will stand with our constitutional republic, as did 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives today.  Leader McConnell must agree to hold this trial without delay.  For the good of the country, he must lead his party in voting to convict President Trump and to prevent him from holding future office.  Both parties must send a unified message across the ages: no authoritarians are welcome in the halls of the world’s greatest democracy.

In my 46 years in the Senate, I never believed our country would reach this point.  Our republic has been under siege not by foreign powers or other adversaries, but from within the Oval Office itself.  If our democracy is to endure, and I believe it will, today must mark the beginning of the end of this dark undercurrent of insurrection fueled and exploited by the President.  Healing our country is critical, but uniting our country happens not through rushing to forgive and forget an act of domestic terrorism.  It happens through utilizing the constitutional powers granted to us by the Founders to protect our democracy.  We must act together now not just to hold President Trump accountable, but to ensure that no future president, no matter their party, places at risk our democracy in service of their own selfish, illegal, and authoritarian ambitions.”

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