Lawmakers' comments on impeachment of US President Donald Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voices her opinion on the House floor during the debate on Jan 13, 2020.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voices her opinion on the House floor during the debate on Jan 13, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The below are comments from lawmakers concerning the House of Representatives vote on Wednesday that made Donald Trump the first US President ever to be impeached twice.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California: “Today, in a bipartisan way, this House demonstrated that no one is above the law – not even the President of the United States, that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country, and that once again we honored our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help us God,” Pelosi said at the Capitol.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky: “Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office... In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” McConnell said in a statement.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer: “Donald Trump has deservedly become the first President in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice over. The Senate is required to act and will proceed with his trial and hold a vote on his conviction. Despite the efforts of Donald Trump and violent insurrectionists, America is not a dictatorship...

“The President of the United States incited a violent mob against the duly elected government of the United States in a vicious, depraved and desperate attempt to remain in power. For the sake of our democracy, it cannot and must not be tolerated, excused, or go unpunished,” Schumer said in a statement.

Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump: “It was a sobering moment to vote in support of impeachment today; to walk over to the US Capitol, our symbol of democracy, and recall the violent insurrection we witnessed here just one week ago. This is not a vote I took lightly, but a vote I took confidently. I’m at peace,” he said on Twitter.

Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of of California: “Today’s decision to impeach President Donald J. Trump was a grave one, but not a difficult one. Either we uphold our oath to protect the Constitution, or we do not. Either we safeguard our democracy, or we do not. Either we remove this dangerous man from office, or we do not. It’s really that simple. Trump has been impeached, now twice, and he must be removed from office, once and for all,” Schiff said in a statement.

Representative Tom Rice, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump: “I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable,” Rice said on Twitter.

Representative David Valadao, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump: “President Trump was, without question, a driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6 by encouraging masses of rioters to incite violence on elected officials, staff members, and our representative democracy as a whole,” he said on Twitter.

“Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience. I voted to impeach President Trump. His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California: “I believe impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake. No investigations have been completed and 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.

"That doesn’t mean the president is free from fault. The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.

"We must unite once again as Americans. I understand that for some this call for unity may ring hollow. But times like these are when we must remember who we are as Americans and what we as a nation stand for.”

US Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio: “This is about getting the president of the United States.  They spied on his campaign before he was elected, 19 minutes into his presidency they started the impeachment push. ... Now it’s impeachment, round two. It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what. It’s an obsession.”

House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts: "We are debating this historic measure at an actual crime scene and we wouldn't be here if it weren't for the president of the United States. This was a well-organised attack on our country that was incited by Donald Trump...

"This Capitol was stormed. People died because of the big lies that were being told by this president and by too many people on the other side of the aisle (Republicans)...

The president of the United States instigated an attempted coup in this country. People died. Everybody should be outraged. If this is not an impeachable offence, I don't know what the hell is."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland: "There are consequences to actions and the actions of the president of the United States demand urgent, clear action by the Congress of the United States."

US Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, in a statement: "Supporting the impeachment of President Trump under these circumstances will do great damage to the institutions of government and could invite further violence at a time the President is calling for calm.

"If there was a time for America's political leaders to bend a knee and ask for God's counsel and guidance, it is now. The most important thing for leaders to do in times of crisis is to make things better, not worse."

US Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida: “This president has faced unprecedented hatred and resistance from big media, big tech and big egos, from congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. Before the rioters tore through that glass, Speaker Pelosi stood at that rostrum and tore through the president’s State of the Union speech, inciting anger, resentment, division. ... The Left in America has incited far more political violence in America than the Right.”

Cedric Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana: “Some of my colleagues, some of which may be co-conspirators, in their latest attempt to placate and please this unfit president, suggest that we shouldn’t punish Trump for his actions, in order to unify the country. That is the climax of foolishness.

"Let me suggest to them: Stand up, man up, woman up and defend this Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, including Donald J. Trump. In the first impeachment, Republicans said we didn’t need to impeach him because he learned his lesson. So no need to remove him. Well, we said if we didn’t remove him, he would do it again. Simply put, we told you so.”

US Representative Nancy Mace , Republican of South Carolina: "The US House of Representatives has every right to impeach the president of the United States.

"But what we're doing today, rushing this impeachment in an hour- or two-hour-long debate on the floor of this chamber and bypassing (the) Judiciary (Committee), poses great questions about the constitutionality of this process."

US Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York: “Donald Trump is a living, breathing impeachable offence.”

US Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona: “I urge you, please, do not ... attempt to douse the remaining burning embers of this movement with gasoline. No one wants that. I urge you please to reconsider the reckless action in which you engage today.”