Close to Home: For inciting a riot, Trump must go
Wednesday was a heartbreaking day to serve in Congress. We were elected to represent our constituents and this week, as we began to certify the free and fair election of President-elect Joe Biden, we witnessed a violent insurrection in the halls of the Capitol.
The United States has been a beacon of democracy for almost 250 years. Our peaceful transfer of power has long been seen as the model for other countries that aspire to a free and democratic form of government. In fact, there are only two nations, America and the United Kingdom, that have existed since 1800 without seeing their governments turned over by violence.
But this week, the eyes of the world saw us differently. The global standard-bearer for democracy teetered on becoming a tinpot dictatorship.
The riot that took place on Wednesday was provoked and encouraged, repeatedly, by the president.
No president has ever done anything remotely like this. Desperate to maintain power, he attacked our electoral process and the rule of law, which hold our democracy together. On Twitter, at rallies and through surrogates, he spewed craven lies and deliberately pushed his followers down the path of violence and insurrection. He engaged in textbook sedition, and he must be held accountable.
Anyone who was somehow still willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt — on his character, his veracity and his intentions — can no longer do that after this debacle. All doubt about the president’s unfitness and the growing threat he poses to our republic has been removed.
That’s why we are calling upon the vice president and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the president from office immediately. This is necessary to protect our nation from further violence and damage to our democratic structure.
We are also joining dozens of House colleagues in calling for the president to be impeached — a second time. It is undeniable that the president has engaged in gross abuse of power and committed serious crimes, including sedition and incitement of election fraud.
It is unlikely that the president’s impeachment in the House and conviction in a Senate trial can be completed before he leaves office. Nevertheless, it is our constitutional duty to pursue this remedy to ensure that his crimes and abuses never happen again.
Wednesday’s breach of the Capitol by armed rioters was among the darkest days in recent American history. But it also showed our resilience and our resolve. Just hours later, Congress reconvened to certify the Electoral College results.
We affirmed that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 as president and vice president of the United States. We affirmed that our nation is governed by the will of the people, not mob rule.
And we affirmed that our legislative body, enshrined in Article I of the Constitution, will not be intimidated.
With the eyes of the world upon us and the future of American democracy at stake, we are committed to ensuring that Congress defends the peaceful transfer of power and the rule of law.
Our country is so much better than what transpired on Wednesday. We must come together to defeat these attacks on our republic and to protect and strengthen our democracy for future generations.
Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, represents the 5th Congressional District. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, represents the 2nd Congressional District.
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