NEW YORK, Jan 07 (APP): American politicians and lawyers called for President Donald Trump to be impeached again, after security personnel regained control of Capitol Hill in Washington from thousands of Trump supporters who invaded the complex where Congress meets in an attempt to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election won by Joe Biden.
The violent attack also evoked a sense of shock from world leaders, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said he was “saddened” by Wednesday’s events.
“In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” U.N. chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Thousands of Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol and clashed with police, resulting in at least the death of four persons, including one woman, and interrupting a constitutional process to affirm President-elect Biden’s victory in the election.
In an editorial titled ”Trump is to blame for Capital attack”, The New York Times said, “President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress incited a violent attack Wednesday against the government they lead and the nation they profess to love. This cannot be allowed to stand.”
The day started with Trump, who continues to make false claims that he won the November election, telling a rally of his supporters near the White House, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Trump for days had talked up the gathering, which also saw his lawyer Rudy Giuliani tell the crowd he was seeking “trial by combat” over the election.
As the law enforcement personnel were trying to remove Trump supporters from the building, Biden, in a television address, said the chaos at the Capitol “is not dissent, it’s disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now.”
Trump released a video statement on Twitter, in which he repeated falsely that the election was “fraudulent” but said people should “go home in peace.”
“We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special,” the president said.
California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu responded by calling on Vice President Mike Pence, who was presding over the proceedings, to invoke the 25th Amendment, which calls for removing the president if he is incapacitated, tweeting that Trump “is detached from reality.”
Maryland Democratic Congressman Kweisi Mfume tweeted that “what we’re witnessing at the US Capitol is a dangerous coup attempt incited by Trump. This is a physical attack on our democracy & a threat to national security. These anarchists & their leader must be arrested & tried with sedition.”
Even before the Capitol was secured, Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced she was drawing up articles of impeachment.
“We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” Ms. Omar tweeted.
Florida Democratic Congressman Val Demings, a former police chief, recalled Trump’s words weeks ago to members of a white nationalist group to “stand back and stand by.”
“We have a criminal president who has incited violence. He wanted this. Our country cannot heal until he and his spineless enablers are held criminally accountable for their actions,” she tweeted. “Justice demands it.”
Legal experts said such charges would be possible, but the likelihood was in question.
Some lawmakers brought up that possibility, even though there are only two weeks left in Trump’s term in the White House.
“This is outrageous, and the president caused it. We should impeach and convict him tomorrow,” tweeted Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where articles of impeachment would start.
Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton said Trump was directly responsible for the violence, adding that Pence and the Cabinet needed to strip his powers under the 25th Amendment.
“Or Congress must immediately impeach and remove the President for the safety of our nation,” Moulton tweeted.
The House impeached Trump in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Senate Republicans voted to acquit him the following February.
The editorial in The New York Times also said that Trump”s “seditious rhetoric” prompted a mob of thousands of people to storm the US Capitol building, some breaking onto the House and Senate floors, where the nation’s elected representatives had gathered to perform their constitutional duty of counting electoral votes and confirming the election of Joe Biden as president.
“The president needs to be held accountable — through impeachment proceedings or criminal prosecution — and the same goes for his supporters who carried out the violence. In time, there should be an investigation of the failure of the Capitol Police to prepare for an attack that was announced and planned in public,” the report said.
“This is not just an attack on the results of the 2020 election. It is a precedent — a permission slip for similar opposition to the outcomes of future elections. It must be clearly rejected, and placed beyond the pale of permissible conduct. The leaders of the Republican Party also bear a measure of responsibility for the attack on the Capitol,” it said.
The Washington Post in an editorial titled ”Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed” said the president’s “refusal to accept his election defeat and his relentless incitement of his supporters led Wednesday to the unthinkable: an assault on the US Capitol by a violent mob that overwhelmed police and drove Congress from its chambers as it was debating the counting of electoral votes”.
“Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to US democracy. He should be removed,” the Post editorial said.
Trump is “unfit” to remain in office for the next 14 days, when on January 20 President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn-in as the next leader of America, the Post said, adding “Every second he retains the vast powers of the presidency is a threat to public order and national security”.
Vice President Pence, who had to be whisked off the Senate floor for his own protection, should immediately gather the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, declaring that Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” it said.
The Congress, which would be required to ratify the action if Trump resisted, should do so and Pence should serve until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
“Americans put on their seat belts, follow traffic laws, pay taxes and vote because of faith in a system — and that faith makes it work. The highest voice in the land incited people to break that faith, not just in tweets, but by inciting them to action. Trump is a menace, and as long as he remains in the White House, the country will be in danger,” the editorial said.
The NYT editorial said January 6, 2021, will go down as a “dark day”.
“The question is whether, even as Trump’s time in office ends, America is at the beginning of a descent into an even darker and more divided epoch or the end of one. The danger is real, but the answer is not foreordained,”
Among the world leaders, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in a tweet described the scenes as “an attack on democracy”. “President Trump and many members of Congress bear significant responsibility for what’s now taking place. The democratic process of electing a president must be respected.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a tweet called the events in the U.S. Congress a “disgrace”, saying the United States stood for democracy around the world and that was it was “vital” now that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said democracy’s enemies would be cheered by scenes of violence at the United States Capitol, and he called on Trump to accept U.S. voters’ decision.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the scenes in Washington as “distressing.” “We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition,” he posted on Twitter.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the violent protests in Washington “shocking scenes” and said the outcome of the democratic U.S. election must be respected.