Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawmakers are considering a second impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, with many Democrats already supporting the push, but Republicans mostly either opposed or silent so far.
The House of Representatives introduced an article of impeachment on Monday accusing Trump of inciting last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which left five people dead and forced Congress to evacuate as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. It is voting on impeachment Wednesday.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” read the article of impeachment, referring to his incitement last week and his pressure on Georgia elections officials to “find” evidence of voter fraud. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President.”
Trump, at a rally shortly before the riot at the Capitol, urged his supporters to “fight like hell” against the election results, falsely claiming a stolen election.
The Inquirer reached out to the offices of all 20 House members and senators from Pennsylvania, as well as three South Jersey representatives and the Garden State’s two senators. The Inquirer asked each office two questions:
1. Did President Trump violate his oath of office based on his actions last week?
2. Should he be impeached?
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Pa.): 1) Yes. 2) Yes. “The President incited an insurrection in which five people were killed. We have no choice but to pursue impeachment.”
Rep. Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.): “There is no question that the president incited the attack on our Capitol that attempted to stop the peaceful transfer of power. His unfounded claims of election fraud and incendiary rally resulted in a threat to a core Constitutional process and cannot go unanswered. Since it is clear by now that the President will not do the right thing and resign, I urge Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. If it becomes necessary, I will support articles of impeachment this week. This is a Constitutional emergency that should be taken very seriously.”
Rep. Madeleine Dean (D., Pa.): 1) Yes. “He has violated his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of the president,” Dean said in an interview. 2) Yes. “He should resign in shame,” Dean said. “Those around him should encourage him to resign, and to leave office immediately.” She also wants Pence to oust Trump via the 25th Amendment, and said she’d vote to impeach the president.
Rep. Mike Doyle (D., Pa.): “Congressman Doyle’s responses are, and I quote: ‘Yes, and yes,’ ” spokesperson Matt Dinkel said.
Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Pa.): Yes and yes. “I was one of the earliest supporters of impeaching Trump, voting for it in 2018 when there were only 58 members willing to take that step,” Evans said in a statement. “I called last week for the immediate reconvening of Congress because Trump has demonstrated again that he is unfit for office and must be removed. If Vice President Pence won’t use the 25th Amendment, the House must move to impeach Trump and I will vote for impeachment.”
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.): Fitzpatrick introduced a resolution Tuesday to censure Trump, arguing that impeachment would be too divisive and time consuming.
“President Trump’s attempts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election have been unconscionable. The combination of a false information campaign coupled with inflammatory rhetoric led to the devastation that I was a personal witness to on the House Floor on January 6th ... His actions threatened the integrity of our democracy, Congress, and his own Vice President.”
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D., Pa.): 1) “The President incited an attack by terrorists on our nation’s Capitol,” Houlahan said. “He instigated an attack by the Executive Branch on the Legislative Branch. He put lives and our very democratic Republic in danger.” 2) “I believe the 25th Amendment is the most expeditious and appropriate path to remove the President and to stop the threat he poses from office. However, should the Vice President and Cabinet fail to have the fortitude to do so, I will vote for the article of impeachment that I have already signed onto. Additionally, I believe the President should not be able to run for elected office again.”
Rep. John Joyce (R., Pa.): “Rushing through the impeachment process and bypassing regular order is a disservice to the U.S. Constitution and to our democracy. Like every American, President Trump is entitled both to due process and to equal justice under the law. As we move forward, this is the moment for building national unity and focusing on the peaceful transition of power.”
Rep. Fred Keller (R., Pa.): No response as of Tuesday evening.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.): “I don’t believe President Trump committed an impeachable offense when he told those at the rally to protest peacefully and make their voices heard,” Kelly said. “He did not tell them to commit violence, and he and all Congressional Republicans have rightfully condemned the rioters who breached the U.S. Capitol. Democrats will be setting a dangerous precedent by attempting to force the use of the 25th Amendment outside of its intended purpose and impeaching a president for First Amendment protected speech just days before he leaves office.”
Rep. Conor Lamb (D., Pa.): Yes and yes.
Rep. Dan Meuser (R., Pa.): “What occurred on January 6th was tragic in many ways,” Meuser said. “I was there and saw the bad actors up close. They were intent on creating mayhem and nothing else. I do not believe the President’s words were intended to incite individuals to act in such a hostile manner. Nevertheless, the result speaks for itself. Lawlessness and violence in any form and from any group must be condemned. People felt very disenfranchised from this election, and I stand by my objection on the House floor … I hoped that this terrible national setback would lead us to attempt to come together rather than continue the pattern of vindictiveness and scoring political points at the expense of the people as we have experienced over the last two years. President Trump is leaving office in eight days. An impeachment proceeding will do nothing but divide us further.”
Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.): No response as of Tuesday evening.
Rep Guy Reschenthaler (R., Pa.): No response as of Tuesday evening.
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D., Pa.): 1) Yes. 2) “This president is a clear and present danger to our country,” Scanlon said. “If this president does not resign, and the Vice President or members of the Cabinet do not invoke the 25th amendment, we must impeach.”
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R., Pa.): No response as of Tuesday evening.
Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R., Pa.): No response as of Tuesday evening.
Rep. Susan Wild (D., Pa.): “This president incited an insurrection against the legislative branch of the United States of America. He has put the safety and security of the American people and our democracy at risk,” Wild said in a statement. “He must be held accountable, and a precedent must be set that we will never tolerate such dangerous attacks from any elected official now or in the future. Since President Trump has made it clear he will not resign, nor will Vice President Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, I have signed on to the articles of impeachment being introduced this week. We cannot heal and unite as a nation until there is accountability for those responsible for these deaths and this insurrection.”
Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.): Yes and yes.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.): Toomey’s office referred to the senator’s comments this past weekend. In television interviews, Toomey called on Trump to resign and said the president had committed impeachable offenses. “I think the best way for our country … is for the president to resign and go away, as soon as possible,” Toomey said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Rep. Andy Kim (D, N.J.): 1) “Yes. The actions we have seen from President Trump have not only been a clear violation of his oath of office, but they’ve actively undermined our democracy,” Kim said. “It’s an action that no President should ever engage in, and we need to make sure there are consequences so no President does it again.”
2) “Yes, he isn’t fit for office. This is why there are both Democrats and Republicans who have come out in favor of impeachment.”
Rep. Donald Norcross (D., N.J.): “The President played a direct role in the deadly insurrection that occurred last week,” Norcross said. “It was not only a grave abuse of power, but it was an attack on the U.S. Capitol, our national security and our democracy. President Trump must be held accountable for his involvement in Wednesday’s violent riot. That is why I am a cosponsor of the Articles of Impeachment.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R., N.J.): No response as of Tuesday evening.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.): His office referred to Booker’s tweet last week. “Donald Trump has shown he is a direct threat to the safety and security of Americans and the integrity of our democracy,” Booker wrote. “The Vice President & Cabinet should immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the President from office. Trump incited a violent insurrection against our own government. Congress should be prepared to impeach & remove the President if the Vice President and Cabinet fail to adhere to their constitutional duty. We must protect our national security.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.): “There must be accountability for those who incite an armed, violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol that leaves five people dead and endangers the lives of members of Congress, their staff and the Vice President,” Menendez said. “Such action cannot go unpunished and we must make clear that there will be consequences for anyone actively working to subvert our democracy in the future. For the good of the country, President Trump should step aside, but if he does not and if the House chooses to move forward with impeachment, I am prepared to sit in judgment as a member of the Senate.”