WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (APP):US President Joe Biden has urged Americans to defend democracy following the Senate acquittal of his predecessor Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial, saying, “This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile.”
In a statement on Saturday night, Biden said the substance of the charge against Trump over the Capitol riot on January 6 in which five people died was not in dispute, and noted the seven Republicans who voted guilty.
“Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate minority leader McConnell
(a Republican), believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol,” he said.
Fifty-seven senators voted to find Trump guilty — short of the two-thirds majority needed in a 100-member house for a conviction — while 43 voted to find him not guilty.
Seven republicans joined the 50 members of the democratic caucus in voting for conviction.
That outcome reflected the widespread outrage about Trump’s conduct among senators who experienced the violence of the attack firsthand, fleeing for safety as marauders overwhelmed the Capitol Police and swarmed the Capitol during the attack.
It came after Democrats built a case that the former president had undertaken a months long effort to overturn the election, and then provoked the assault on the Capitol in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power.
Trump will still go down in history as the only American president to have been impeached twice, and acquitted twice.
Biden, in his Saturday night statement invoked Senator McConnell, who did not vote to convict Trump, but issued a blistering rebuke of the president following the final vote.
The President said he was thinking of those who protected the Capitol during the riots, as well as those who died and remain in danger following the incident.
Biden also said he was thinking of those who “demonstrated the courage to protect the integrity of our democracy” before an after the election.
The president ended his statement by drawing on his previous calls for unity to heal “the soul of the nation.”
“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant.
That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies,” Biden continued.
“That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation. That is the task ahead. And it’s a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America,” he concluded.
The president has largely sidestepped questions about the trial, stating that the details about impeachment should be left up to Congress, and instead has steered the conversation toward other priorities such as COVID-19 relief.
Minutes after the verdict was announced, Trump sent out a statement thanking his legal team and decrying, as he did for most of his presidency, the “witch hunt” he says is being waged upon him by his enemies.
“It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree,” he wrote, echoing the final arguments of his lawyers in the Senate on Saturday.
“I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.”
He also suggested that the Democrats’ attempt to end his political career had also failed, telling his supporters, “our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.