Mon, October 25, 2021

in-focus

Democratic lawmakers are calling for Trump's impeachment. Members of 'the Squad' led the charge.


Within hours of having their workplace stormed by a mob of Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Democratic members of Congress began calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump - and even the removal of conservative members of Congress who backed the president's baseless claims of an unfair election. And it was women of color lawmakers - including members of "the Squad" - who were quickest to lead the charge.

The president's repeated, false claims that the election was stolen drew thousands of his supporters to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to protest Congress's certification of the 2020 presidential election results, which saw President-elect Joe Biden securing a definitive victory. Waving Trump, American and Confederate flags, hundreds of protesters battled past law enforcement to storm the Capitol building, disrupting Congress's attempt to certify Biden's victory and forcing lawmakers to evacuate their offices or shelter in place. After the building was cleared, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said lawmakers would resume counting electoral college votes Wednesday night.

The chaos that erupted at the Capitol drew condemnation from around the world, and from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. In the case of some of Trump's most outspoken critics in Washington, that took the form of calls for another impeachment - even if the possibility of Trump's removal from office remains unlikely.

In a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., called on Trump to be impeached "as soon as Congress reconvenes," calling his behavior in the lead-up to the violent attack on the Capitol "dangerous and unacceptable."

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., soon chimed in, saying she was drawing up articles of impeachment against the president. "We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we nee to fulfill our oath," Omar wrote on Twitter.

Both Pressley and Omar have received racist, often violent, rhetoric and threats from Trump's supporters since their election to the House in 2018. In 2019, Trump attacked the Squad on his Twitter account, saying Pressley and Omar, as well as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., ought to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Trump has continued to attack the lawmakers - all of whom are women of color - throughout his time in office. Omar says she has received a deluge of death threats from his followers.

Freshman Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., a newly minted member of the Squad and Congress's first prominent Black Lives Matter organizer, also proposed a swift course of action Wednesday. As law enforcement confronted rioters on the Capitol, Bush announced that she was drafting a resolution calling for the expulsion of Republican members of Congress who supported Trump's claims that the election had been stolen. This would be the first piece of legislation introduced by Bush, who has been one of Congress's most visible incoming members.

"The Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office," she wrote. "I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion."

Neither Omar's articles of impeachment nor Bush's calls to expel GOP lawmakers are likely to pass in the two weeks before Biden is expected to be sworn in, even as their tweets amassed hundreds of thousands of likes within hours of being posted. But the calls to expel not only Trump, but GOP lawmakers, are indicative of the long-broiling political divisions that were once again set aflame on Wednesday.

Soon after Bush and Omar's announcements, more elected officials amplified calls to remove Trump from office ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration. Among them were Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, D, who tweeted that Trump should "resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by Congress." Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., also said they wanted to see Trump impeached for inciting Wednesday's violence.

The calls come amid the backdrop of House Democrats' first attempt to impeach Trump: In December 2019, they accused him of obstructing Congress's investigations into his affairs, as well as abusing his power to influence the results of the 2020 election. The hyperpartisan process ended with a Republican-controlled Senate acquitting Trump on both impeachment charges the following January.

Following her initial announcement that she was drafting new articles of impeachment, Omar attempted to reassure Americans disturbed by the chaos that had unfolded in Washington.

"Rest assured, this day will not end without us finishing the work Congress is supposed to carry out," Omar tweeted. "Democracy will prevail."

Published : January 07, 2021

By : The Washington Post · Anne Branigin · NATIONAL, POLITICS