Trump shouldn’t be allowed another day in the White House. But what about complicit Pa. lawmakers? | Editorial
Trump needs to face consequences, but so do the Republican lawmakers who were complicit in encouraging an insurrection.
We join the bipartisan calls for the removal of President Donald Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment or a swift impeachment. His incitement of his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was a treasonous act that cannot be tolerated.
His continued insistence that the fair and legitimate election that he lost was rigged — claims he began making even before the election — is the mark of totalitarian inclinations and disregard for the country and its founding principles. For four years, Trump faced few consequences for his outrageous behavior and denial of the truth, galvanizing a bandwagon of followers within the GOP. Wednesday’s insurrection was incited by Trump, fueled by his enablers, and facilitated by four years with little accountability. That must stop.
Trump was impeached in the fall of 2019 for withholding foreign aid to pressure the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. He was acquitted by the Senate early in 2020 — and learned nothing from the entire experience.
It is tempting to want to just run out the clock, fewer than two weeks, before Trump’s tenure as president ends. But the images of the assault on the Capitol are proof that the risk of allowing Trump to stay in the White House, with the power of the presidency, for even that short period is just too high.
Trump needs to face consequences. So do the Republican lawmakers who were complicit in sparking a coup attempt by their continued support of Trump’s baseless lies of a rigged election.
When Congress returned on Wednesday night to certify the Electoral College results, 147 Republicans voted to overturn the results of the election. That includes eight of the nine Republicans who represent Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives. In their actions, they validated the lies that led to the siege and so were complicit in the assault on the Capitol. They were undeterred even after blood was spilled in the halls of Congress. They, too, should be held to account.
Shortly after midnight, Rep. Scott Perry of the Harrisburg-York area objected to the count of the Pennsylvania vote. The election process and ballots that were good enough to give him another term in Congress, he implicitly argued, were at the same time not good enough to give Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes.
In speeches into the night, Perry and his Republican colleagues from the commonwealth and elsewhere repeated easily disputed lies — including those about Pennsylvania voting law that originated in the Republican General Assembly — that have been already debunked or dismissed by the courts.
Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano was in D.C. for the rally — he says he didn’t break into the Capitol building, as a newly sworn-in West Virginia delegate did. Mastriano, who has been peddling lies on the election, was in fact also reelected in 2020. The ballots that got him his seat were legitimate, but the ones for Biden were somehow fraudulent.
In attendance in D.C. was also former state representative and Republican congressional nominee Rick Saccone. Captioning a Facebook video from D.C. on Wednesday, Saccone says: “We are storming the Capitol. Our vanguard has broken thru the barricades.” He resigned from his instructor position at St. Vincent College the following day.
Meanwhile, riding the wave of lies about the election, last Tuesday, the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania state Senate refused to swear in the duly elected Jim Brewster, depriving a quarter-million people in Pennsylvania from representation.
What do we do with lawmakers who flagrantly disregard reality, and are either blind or indifferent to the consequences of their actions?
Any Pennsylvania Republican who continues to charge that there was fraud in the 2020 election should resign immediately and demand a special election for their own seat. If they believe so strongly in election fraud that they’re calling to overturn the presidential race, how can they serve with confidence that their own elections were legitimate? If they don’t resign, they should take responsibility for the damage that they inflicted to American democracy, and at the very least, apologize. But we won’t hold our breath.