Connecticut’s five House representatives joined other Democrats and 10 Republicans in a historic vote to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time Wednesday one week after a mob of his supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol Building.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach the president with one week left in his term, alleging he incited an insurrection by directing his supporters to the Capitol building as Congress was certifying the results of the presidential election. Five people died in the incident including a Capitol police officer. Wednesday’s vote makes Trump the only president in the nation’s history to be impeached more than once.
Before the vote, congressmen and women spent much of the day making rapid-fire speeches from the same House floor where one week earlier insurgents smashed the glass windows of the chamber and security officers barricaded furniture against doors to keep the elected officials inside safe.
During Wednesday’s debate, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat who was in the chamber during the attack, urged his Republican colleagues to search their souls and consider their oaths as they voted on Trump’s second impeachment.
“Reflect on your legacy. My friends, which way is history flowing right now? Will Donald Trump join the pantheon of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan or will his 33% approval rating and the condemnation of principled Republicans consign him to the heap of reviled demagogues with Joseph McCarthy and Andrew Johnson? Where he goes in history, you go in history unless today, you make a stand,” Himes said.
In her remarks, Connecticut’s U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro accused Trump of using “untruthful claims” to derail the constitutional process of certifying Biden’s election.
“Not accepting the will of the American people, the president unleashed the most horrific violence that overwhelmed the security forces at this Capitol, which was overrun for the first time since 1812, putting the lives of so many at risk. Indeed, a day of infamy. This impeachment will be viewed as a transcendent vote where all will be judged,” she said.
Wednesday’s vote will not result in Trump’s removal from office before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week.
The New York Times reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell considered Trump’s actions to be impeachable. McConnell is poised to lose control of the Senate following the results of two runoff elections this month. According to Politico, he told Republicans Wednesday he had not yet decided whether he would vote to convict Trump after the eventual trial.
After the vote, he issued a statement saying the Senate would not reach any sort of verdict until after Trump had already left office.
“This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact,” McConnell said.
Republican response to the resolution in the House ranged from support to outright condemnation. During his remarks, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, said responsibility for last week’s attack belonged with Trump. He rejected the suggestion floated by some in his party that the riot was orchestrated by left-wing agitators. But McCarthy said he would vote against impeachment.
“I believe impeaching the president in such a short timeframe would be a mistake. No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held. What’s more, the Senate has confirmed that no trial will begin until after President-elect Biden is sworn in. But here is what a vote to impeach would do: a vote to impeach would further divide this nation,” he said.
In a statement following the vote, U.S. Rep. John Larson applauded the Republicans who joined Democrats in supporting the impeachment.
“Last week for the first time since the War of 1812 our Capitol was under siege. Police were pinned between a door, hit with fire extinguishers and hockey sticks, and dragged. Pipe bombs were found at the DNC and RNC. Five people died. Journalists were attacked. This was a violent insurrection incited by the President. The President and the rioters must be held accountable,” Larson said.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney issued a statement saying there was no question Trump helped to incite last week’s violence at the Capitol.
“Leaders and elected officials from across the political spectrum, including from the President’s own Cabinet and leaders in the private sector, have stated that it was blindingly obvious that he incited the deadly violence, and afterwards failed to adequately quell the mayhem that trapped Vice President [Mike] Pence and the leaders of a co-equal branch in a basement for hours,” Courtney said.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes said she took no joy in voting to impeach the president.
“Today, I cast my vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump in solemn defense of our democracy, respect for our Constitution, and preservation of the Union. I pray that our nation comes together at this harrowing time,” she said.