Gerry Connolly issues statement supporting second Trump impeachment effort
We are tasked with the solemn duty to take the first step to right the wrongs we witnessed one week ago today. An act of terror was unleashed on our Capitol – the cradle of democracy – during a sacred act in the peaceful transfer of power. What we all lived through in those hours must not go unpunished. Members and staff forced to flee and hide from rioters. Windows shattered, doors ripped off their hinges, and messages of hate painted on the walls. Police officers beaten with the American flag, while the Confederate flag was triumphantly marched through the Capitol. And when the smoke cleared, five lives, including a Capitol Police officer, were tragically cut short.
There were many bad actors that stormed the Capitol, and sadly, there are some in Congress who helped stoke the flames and spread the lies that gave birth to the insurrection. There will be time to address that, and we must. But today, our judgement must be on the horrific misconduct of President Donald J. Trump.
I will not turn a blind eye to the President’s behavior and culpability for inciting this assault. In the leadup to the election and in its aftermath, he peddled outrageous lies, attacked our democratic institutions, demagogued state election officials, maligned poll workers, and tried to coerce those in power to overturn election results. When that didn’t work, he called for violence, telling his supporters – including the Proud Boys and the Far-Right – “We fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” So they took his orders and attacked this institution – a coequal branch of government. Even as the mob desecrated the halls of Congress, President Trump called Senators to pressure them to challenge the Electoral College vote count.
Some of my friends on the other side of the aisle, including the ones who perpetrated this big lie, have called for unity. Well I ask, where were those calls for unity when Joe Biden won? Where were the calls for unity when a mob tore through these hallowed halls? Even in the aftermath of that destruction, these same individuals chose, once again, to bow to an unworthy president.
Before we can have unity we must first have justice. President Trump has torn apart our nation, attacked our democratic institutions, damaged our standing in the world, and now ends his term with a violent insurrection. America will endure long past Donald J. Trump. But history will judge us and how we acted. We answered the call when we reconvened last Wednesday and at 3:32 Thursday morning finished the certification of election results in the House chamber. Now we must finish our work, and once again impeach this unfit president.
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) is the chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee.