U.S. Representative Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, has announced he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting an insurgency on the U.S. Capitol last week.
Meijer released a statement as the House debated it on Wednesday, saying Trump broke his oath by undermining the 2020 presidential election. Meijer, who was inside the House chambers when a pro-Trump mob took to broke into Capitol Hill and assaulted police, said Trump accepts no responsibility for the violence his words inspired.
“I think the indictment article is correct,” Meijer said. “The president has betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears the responsibility of inciting violent acts of insurgency last week. With a heavy heart, I will vote to remove President Donald J. Trump.
Meijer joins US Representative Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, as the only Republican member of the Michigan House delegation to pledge to support the impeachment charge. Michigan’s seven Democratic representatives have said they will vote to impeach the president.
Lawmakers vote Wednesday night on a single impeachment charge. Trump would be the first president to be impeached twice if he passes.
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy opposes the impeachment but said Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack on Congress. Trump should have immediately denounced the crowd when he saw what was going on, McCarthy said, but the Republican leader said voting to impeach Trump a week before he left office would “further fuel the flames” of the division .
Several Republicans who gave speeches on Wednesday warned that Trump’s impeachment would not allow the country to heal. Others have likened Trump’s remarks to statements made by Democrats in support of protests against his administration’s policies.
House Democrats had tried to persuade Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and find the president unfit for office. The House passed a non-binding resolution calling on Pence to use the 25th Amendment, although the Deputy Speaker said he did not believe “such a course of action is in our nation’s best interest or in accordance with the law. to our Constitution ”.
In a speech Tuesday night against the resolution, U.S. Representative Lisa McClain, of the Township of R-Bruce, compared her incitement to riots to statements Democrats made against Trump’s 2018 child separation policy.
“Impeachment only spurs more division,” McClain said Tuesday.
Meijer said he struggled with the division’s impeachment, but ultimately felt Trump should be held responsible. Meijer said Trump had misled millions of supporters with allegations of stolen elections and encouraged supporters to “fight like hell.”
The congressman said Trump’s remarks in a video posted during the Capitol riots expressed their admiration for the crowd “as Congress was still under attack.” Five people died in the chaos, including a Capitol police officer and a woman shot dead by police, and a second Capitol policeman committed suicide after the riots.
Congress met again hours later to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. It will be inaugurated on January 20.
Trump briefly addressed the January 6 riots during an appearance at the southern Texas border on Tuesday. The president said a mob stormed the Capitol and “trashed government corridors” but did not address his role in stoking tensions over the election outcome.
“The only man who could have restored order, prevented the deaths of five Americans, including a Capitol Police officer, and avoided the desecration of our Capitol, lost interest in leadership when our country needed it most. ”Meijer said.
Representatives gave speeches for several hours on Wednesday before a vote on the single article of impeachment took place. No Michigan Republican spoke.
U.S. Representative Andy Levin, of D-Bloomfield Township, said Trump spent two months organizing a campaign of “outright lies to overturn the election, then summon a host of domestic terrorists to sack Capitol Hill.
“It was a grotesque orgy of deadly white supremacism, anti-Semitism and strongman domination,” Levin said.
US Representative Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, said it was time to remove the “chief racist”.
“Those who instigated an attack on the people’s house cannot speak of healing and unity,” she said. “They tore this country apart.”
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