Many Republicans have argued that the congressional Democrats’ pursuit of impeachment against former President Donald Trump will stand in the way of healing a deeply divided nation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), however, defended the push to impeach and convict Trump against arguments that doing so would undermine President Joe Biden’s call for political unity. According to Fox News, her remarks came on Thursday — one day after Biden’s inauguration — in response to related questions from reporters.
“The fact is the president of the United States committed an act of incitement of insurrection,” Pelosi asserted, in reference to Trump’s rhetoric ahead of a Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
“That’s not how you unify”
In reaction to the GOP argument that the nation should move on, the speaker alleged that it could be “harmful to unity” for Congress to drop the impeachment effort.
“I don’t think it’s very unifying to say, ‘Oh, let’s just forget it and move on,'” Pelosi said, according to Fox. “That’s not how you unify.”
Instead, the speaker said she is “more concerned about the damage that [the rioters] did to our staff, to our colleagues in the Congress, to the custodial staff in the Capitol of the United States.”
Pelosi said it was the legislative branch’s “responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” adding that she intends to do just that.
“Just because [Trump is] now gone — thank God — you don’t say to a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration, you’re going to get a get out of jail free card because some people think we should make nice and forget that people died here on Jan. 6,” Pelosi concluded.
“Nothing I see in the Constitution”
Her counterpart in the Senate, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), similarly explained the perceived need for a trial in remarks earlier in the week.
“After what he has done, the consequences of which we were all witness to, Donald Trump should not be eligible to run for office ever again,” he said, according to Breitbart.
While some Republicans have expressed some support for at least hearing arguments in a Senate trial, others — including Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) — are clearly against the idea.
“Let the voters decide whether they want President Trump to run again,” the Republican lawmaker said of rumors that Trump might mount a 2024 re-election bid. “There’s nothing I see in the Constitution that allows you to impeach a president after he’s already left office.”