WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) joined several of his Republican colleagues and even some Democrats on Tuesday to introduce a concurrent resolution to “censure the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, for attempting to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and for violating his oath of office on January 6th, 2021.”
The Censure measure is being presented as an alternative to House Democrats’ effort to impeach the president for a second time on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
The dueling resolutions are being presented less than one week after President Trump encouraged a mob of loyalists to “Stop the Steal” and “fight like hell” against election results. Soon after his speech, the U.S. Capitol became the target of a deadly siege that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police Officer and four Trump supporters.
While the first impeachment of Trump in 2019 brought no Republican votes in the House, a small number of leaders and other lawmakers are breaking with the party to join Democrats. But a majority of the Party – including Reed – say they won’t vote to impeach.
“If our leaders make the wrong decision in how to hold him accountable, it could damage the integrity of our system of justice, further fan the flames of division, and disillusion millions of Americans ─ all while failing to accomplish anything,” Reed said in an opinion piece published in the New York Times on Tuesday. “Given the tools that lie before Congress, it is clear that pursuing impeachment only days before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated is not the answer.”
Democrat and Republican Members of the U.S. Senate are convinced that the House’s impeachment efforts will almost certainly result in a second acquittal of President Trump, which even some Democrats say would even further divide and inflame tensions in our nation.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) stated, “…it is clear the 25th Amendment will not be invoked and that the Senate will not convict the president after impeachment. A censure resolution is the only way to send a bipartisan, bicameral message without delay to the country and the world that the United States is a nation of laws.”
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) also stated that the House’s current impeachment approach “is so ill-advised for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people when we are going to be so divided and fighting again.”
According to those who support censure, there are two constitutional purposes of impeachment: 1) removal from office, and 2) barring the future holding of office and the current approach being advanced by House leadership is certain to accomplish neither one of these. As a result, they are pushing instead for censure.
“[Censure] is an important step to hold the President accountable. Congress must make clear that it rejects extremism and condemns the President’s actions,” said Reed. “We will continue to push for Congressional leaders to work with us on investigating the events surrounding this dark period in our history and make sure it never happens again with the public’s trust in our democratic institutions restored.”
Meanwhile, the four-page impeachment resolution relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including organizing a White House rally on the same day Congress was to certify Biden’s election. Some of those who attended the rally also participated in the raid on the Capitol following Trump’s speech, and supporters of impeachment say the speech was intended to whip his supporters into a frenzy just as members of congress took up the certification issue.
The House tried first to push Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to intervene, passing a resolution Tuesday night calling on them to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office. But Pence made it clear he would not do so. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence said it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
The President, meanwhile, insisted on Tuesday that he believes he bears no responsibility for the insurrection carried out by his supporters and has yet to explicitly call on them to refrain from launching another assault on the Capitol.