Editor’s Note: The following are remarks from elected officials on the Senate’s vote to acquit former President Donald J. Trump on the charge of an inciting an insurrection:
It’s shameful that so many Senate Republicans chose to hide behind a faulty technicality instead of considering the facts as we had laid them out.
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette
Our case was strong, the facts were clear and the evidence we presented was overwhelming. This was the largest bipartisan vote to impeach a president ever, and even Mitch McConnell agreed that we proved our case. It’s shameful that so many Senate Republicans chose to hide behind a faulty technicality instead of considering the facts as we had laid them out.
President Trump incited a violent insurrection against our government. He used his platform as the president of the United States to launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building to try to stop Congress from certifying the election for his opponent. It was the highest of high crimes. It was the greatest betrayal of office. And it was the most brazen attack on our own government by a sitting U.S. president that our nation has ever seen.
Our goal in pursuing a conviction against Donald Trump for his conduct was not to punish him, but to prevent the type of violence that took place that day from ever happening again. While we didn’t get the conviction we ultimately sought, I believe we made our case to the American people. And that’s just as important because, at the end of the day, they are now the ones who will ultimately decide whether Donald Trump is ever allowed to hold public office again.
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet
Today 57 senators voted to convict Donald Trump of impeachable offenses. Although the Senate fell short of the required two-thirds majority, our bipartisan vote reflects the powerful evidence that President Trump breached his oath of office.
In my view, his egregious refusal to accept the results of a lawful election and his intimidation of election officials were sufficient to warrant conviction. In the end, he stopped at nothing, inciting a mob to attack the Capitol to overturn the lawful election of President Biden, putting American lives, principles, and democratic institutions at mortal risk.
Our exercise in self-government will always be vulnerable to demagogues who do anything to hold on to power. As citizens we must stand in their way and strengthen our democracy––today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado.
PQ **use with Grijalva**
If inciting an insurrection to attempt to overturn the results of an election isn’t an impeachable offense, it begs the question—what is?
U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Forty-three Republican Senators chose to bow to a man who threatened their lives instead of choosing to put their country over party and convict the former president. Their failure has set a dangerous precedent that will make it more difficult to hold future presidents accountable for violations of their oath. If inciting an insurrection to attempt to overturn the results of an election isn’t an impeachable offense, it begs the question—what is?
The facts are clear. For months, Donald Trump spread a big lie that the election was stolen, which culminated in inciting a violent mob to attack Members of Congress and his own Vice President for upholding their constitutional duty. While the lives of the Vice President, Members of Congress, staff, and Capitol Police officers hung in the balance, Trump refused to call off his deranged supporters. People died, numerous were injured, and the American public watched it all unfold on live television. Conviction should not have been a partisan issue, and I’m grateful for the seven Republican Senators who voted to uphold their own oath of office and convict the President for his crimes.
Donald Trump is guilty, and history will judge every single Member of Congress who willingly enabled his crimes. Donald Trump may feel emboldened, but make no mistake that the insurrection, and the death and destruction that accompanied it, will forever be the legacy of Trump and these complicit Senators.
U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Arizona.
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján
I took no pleasure in voting to convict President Trump for inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government. However, there is no doubt that the former president did everything in his power to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He intimidated local election officials, Members of the House and Senate, his Attorney General, and even his Vice President. When that failed, he summoned his supporters to Washington on January 6th, riled them up, and unleashed them on the Capitol to stop the electoral count. Six people died that day, 140 Capitol and Metropolitan police officers were injured, and hundreds more had their lives put in danger. He is guilty of the charge brought against him by the House of Representatives.
After listening to the overwhelming evidence – and experiencing the danger firsthand – most of my Republican colleagues voted to acquit. They argued that América must move past this violent attack on our democracy. I believe it must be made clear that the presidency – the highest office in the land – cannot be used as a political weapon to overturn the will of the American people.
A few days before the attack on the Capitol, I took an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ I upheld that oath today, and I will continue to honor the trust that New Mexicans have placed in me as their senator.
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján, New Mexico
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