President Donald Trump was formally impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday for "Willful incitement of insurrection," following riots that happened at the Capitol in Washington D.C. last week during the certification of electoral votes. The event left five dead and has launched a federal investigation throughout the country.
This action of impeachment sets precedent as Trump is the only U.S. president to be impeached twice while serving. He is also only the third president to be impeached in American history.
"Today, in a bipartisan way, the 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," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement that day. "And, now, I sadly and with a heart broken over what this means to our country – of a President who would incite insurrection – will sign the engrossment of the Article of Impeachment."
The article of impeachment passed on the House floor with a 232-197 vote after Vice President Mike Pence publicly declared that he would not be invoking the 25th Amendment that would have removed Trump from office.
All Democratic representatives, including Central Valley representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and Jerry McNerney (CA-9), voted in favor, along with 10 Republican representatives.
"Today, I voted to impeach President Trump for the second time to protect our nation and our democracy against a would-be tyrant. This is a moment that will define our nation for generations to come," said McNerney in a statement.
"President Trump began his presidency speaking of American carnage, and as he ends his time in the White House, he has led his followers to lay siege at the seat of our government, directly inciting and provoking that carnage. In order to preserve our democracy, there must be consequences for sedition, and the rule of law must be upheld."
Harder described the events that happened last week as a "disgraceful stain on our country's history." He shared photos on social media of fences and barricades surrounding the Capitol, along with various shots of groups of armed guards patrolling the grounds.
"Our Capitol looks like a war zone, because the President incited an attack on democracy. Today I voted to remove him from power," he said.
Local Tracy leaders react:
"The disturbing events in our nation’s Capitol has given each citizen a moment to wonder regarding where we are as a country. Fortunately, as educators we have the opportunity to teach about the rich culture of our institutions, the glories of our past history and to identify past wrongs so that we are not fated to repeat them in coming generations," said Tracy Unified School District Superintendent Brian Stephens in a statement he sent out to parents and currently has displayed on the TUSD online landing page.
"As disappointing as the actions of a few were in Washington D.C., they will not define us or set a course of action to follow. An educated populace will be what keeps us a strong and vibrant nation. Tracy Unified is committed to providing a safe, nurturing environment for our students to become the very best adults and citizens as they can be on their pathway to a full, rich life."
On the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Tracy Councilman Dan Arriola posted, "This is NOT a protest. This is an attempted coup. Domestic terrorists—emboldened by the President himself—are actively engaging in INSURRECTION against the United States. Any politician who enabled this violence today should be criminally charged with SEDITION. What a tragic day for our democracy...Praying for our nation today."
Former Tracy Councilwoman Rhodesia Ransom also spoke out on the day of the riots and questioned why so few arrests were reported.
"Disgusted. Not a proud moment for our nation. Disagree if you want to, but this is a national embarrassment orchestrated by Trump and his supporters. All of this is because the election is being certified and Trump did not win. Who in good conscience can support this literal attack on capitol hill and democracy? Raise your hands, please," she said.
The next step in the presidential impeachment process is to hold a trial in the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will begin the impeachment process at its next regular session, which takes place Jan. 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden is to be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.
"Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump has left office," McConnell said in a statement.
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