APA Members of Congress Respond to Trump Acquittal

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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump, facing his second impeachment trial in the Senate, was acquitted Saturday on the charge of fomenting the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol.

Although a majority of senators, 57 — all of the Democrats and seven Republicans — voted to convict, it was 10 short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction.

Following are comments from Asian Pacific American members of Congress.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “The House managers made their case. Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection and sent a murderous mob to lay siege to the U.S. Capitol. We were all there. Everyone saw and heard what happened. Sad and shameful that only seven GOP senators had the courage to do the right thing.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Last month, Donald Trump lavished praise on a mob hell-bent on violence. He gave them orders to ‘fight like hell’ — kindling their anger, weaponizing their fury, then directing them to the steps of the United States Capitol, where they waged an insurrection that led to the murder of a Capitol police Officer and the deaths of at least six other people.

“After the House managers’ fact-based, convincing and harrowing case, a majority of United States senators voted to hold Trump accountable today, putting principle before partisanship — country before Trumpism — and helping send the message that no president of any party has free rein to incite violence at any point in their term. That a president is subject to constitutional accountability for every action they take in office, whether it occurs during their last week, their last day or even their final few minutes serving in office.

“However, it is profoundly disheartening that so many of my Republican colleagues chose to ignore the evidence and vote to acquit him. Too many Republican senators are comfortable hiding behind their misguided belief that trying a former president for his actions in office is unconstitutional, even as they refuse to answer the much more important question of whether actually inciting an insurrection against the Constitution is unconstitutional. By doing so, they desecrate the democracy that so many patriots — including members of my own family — have sacrificed for just to protect the legacy of a man who has only ever truly pledged allegiance to himself.

“History will not look kindly on their votes to defend a wannabe tin-pot dictator or their willingness to further imperil our notion of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. As a result of this trial, the world knows that Donald Trump betrayed his oath by inciting a violent insurrection to try to overturn a free and fair election that Joe Biden won by millions upon millions of votes.

“Those who choose to ignore that reality, who are willing to justify Trump’s attempts to undermine this nation’s centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers of power, will forever have to live with their decision to put politics above nation — the consequences of which will have a long-lasting impact on the strength of our democracy.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), one of the House impeachment managers: “After the trial presentations, 71% of Americans now believe Trump was at least partially responsible for the deadly January attack. 57 senators found Trump guilty, the largest bipartisan conviction vote ever. We secured his dishonored place in history. Generations from now, Trump will be remembered for inciting an insurrection.”

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “The House impeachment managers presented a clear, compelling case to the Senate and the American people. Today, a majority of Republican senators betrayed their oath by voting to acquit Trump. It’s now up to all of us to defeat the forces of Trumpism and defend our democracy through remembrance of this breach of duty and by a commitment to hold the shirkers accountable at the ballot box.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “By once again putting their one-man cult over the well-being of this nation, 43 Republican senators not only failed to hold Donald Trump accountable for inciting a deadly insurrection, but they failed to protect our country, our Constitution, and our very democracy.

“The one-term, twice-impeached former president incited his supporters to launch the deadliest and most destructive assault on the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812. I know because I was there, trapped in the House Gallery just feet away from the violent insurrectionists who were pounding on the doors and looking for members of Congress who they deemed traitors simply for upholding the will of the people in a free and fair election. For those who were not there, the case is just as clear.

“With disturbing new footage, a minute-by-minute timeline, and the former president’s own words, the House impeachment managers masterfully presented an open-and-shut case. Donald Trump told domestic terrorists — many associated with white nationalist groups — to ‘stand by.’ Then he urged them to ‘fight like hell.’ Next, he proclaimed, ‘We are going to the Capitol.’

“The insurrectionists followed his orders and carried out a violent attack on our country with the intent of overtaking Congress, overturning this election, and undermining our democracy. The former president’s legal team had no real defense during the trial because Donald Trump’s deadly actions are simply indefensible. He continues to lie about the election results to this day.

“With their vote, each Republican senator had a choice to make: protect America and uphold their oath to this country and our Constitution or stay with a one-man cult — a cult of madness rather than a party of principles — that discards democracy and radicalizes in broad daylight. I applaud those Republicans in the House and Senate who put country over party, making this the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S. history.

“While we must hold these 43 senators fully accountable for further endangering our nation with their cowardice, we must also refuse to let Donald Trump off the hook for causing this deadly insurrection and for committing countless other crimes during his lawless presidency. The American people held him accountable at the ballot box in November as they delivered a mandate — taking back the White House, flipping the Senate, and keeping the House of Representatives. Now, Congress must do the same in the days ahead because America is so deeply worth it.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “Donald Trump attacked the Congress. He is forever a traitor to the Constitution and our democracy. Period.

“To the 57 senators, including seven GOP senators — thank you for standing on the right side of history.

“To the rest of the Senate Republicans who put your job before our country — your cowardice knows no bounds.

“To our House managers — we are a grateful and stronger nation with you as defenders of our sacred democracy.

“The fundamental truth is that our democracy IS resilient — and we will endure.”

Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii): “He may have been acquitted but make no mistake, he is absolutely GUILTY.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “The fact that we could not get even 60 senators to vote for the most obvious proposition of convicting Trump is a clarion call for eliminating the filibuster!”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “It is abundantly clear that former President Trump’s rhetoric and lies fueled the fire of the anger and violence his supporters embraced over the November election results … An insurrectionist sat in the Oval Office.”

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.): “At my office in Congress I have an original ballot of Mandela’s election as reminder to never take democracy for granted. After yesterday’s Senate vote, I turn back to Mandela’s first speech when released from prison 31 years ago this week. Here’s what we can learn.

“GRACE: ‘I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.’ Robbed of 27 years of his life, no one would have faulted Mandela if he emerged from prison with anger. But instead, with his first words of his first speech in decades, he chose grace.

“HUMILITY: ‘I stand before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.’ Mandela was revered by millions as a leader of conscience. But in his second sentence, he made sure to set the tone for humility and service. No individuals stand above the people.

“SOLIDARITY: ‘I salute the working class…religious communities…the endless heroism of youth…the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation.’ He focused on the contributions of the many and showed respect to those often overlooked. He showed the vitalness of coalitions.

“URGENCY: ‘Our struggle has reached a decisive moment.’ Mandela used the speech to set the tone for the work ahead. His release was not the climax, but instead just the possibility of change. No assumptions could be made of what comes next.

“AGENCY: ‘We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted.’ He underscored the urgency of now and showed who was empowered to make this decision. It would be ‘our people’ who would seize this moment.

“ORGANIZATION: ‘It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured.’ The vision for change that Mandela presented wasn’t one of elites in power. Change would happen ‘only’ through mass action. He also noted that these actions must be ‘disciplined.’

“COURAGE: ‘Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.’ It must have been powerful to stand in that crowd in Cape Town and hear a man who was imprisoned for 27 years to say we cannot subject ourselves to fear.

“VISION: ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.’

“Mandela ended with a positive vision to show that what they were fighting for was bigger than him, bigger than all.

“I know there’s a lot of frustration after yesterday’s vote in the Senate, but Mandela’s story shows us hope. He told us to ‘seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted.’ Democracy may have taken a hit, but his words ring true today.

“Accountability and justice for the insurrection on Jan. 6 failed in the Senate, but just because 43 senators failed to use their vote to protect our democracy doesn’t mean you can’t.

“Mandela, in his speech, said, ‘Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.’ We can’t and we won’t. Not as long as we all pledge to seize this moment and work towards justice.

“I hope it’s a pledge you’ll take with me — to do as Mandela said and ‘redouble our efforts.’ It’s a pledge that is never far from me in my office, and one that continues to fill me with hope even in these days of disappointment and despair.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): “While an insufficient number of Senate Republicans found Donald Trump guilty of inciting insurrection against democracy, seven Republicans joined all Democrats in a historic and bipartisan condemnation of Donald Trump’s conduct in the Senate trial.

“Donald Trump sowed doubt about the 2020 election results well before he lost. For months he baselessly attacked mail-in voting as fraudulent and refused numerous times to state that he would accept the results. Then, once he lost the election, he pursued over 60 frivolous and meritless lawsuits in the courts, which were all dismissed – some even by judges appointed by President Trump himself.

“Once his efforts to overturn the election results had totally failed in the courts, he tried to intimidate election officials in states to ‘find’ votes to overturn the will of the people. Then on Jan. 6, he incited a murderous mob to attack the U.S. Capitol to interrupt Congress’ constitutional duty to certify the votes of the Electoral College. During the siege, he ignored pleas from Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and remained cavalier about the danger facing members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence.

“The impeachment managers presented overwhelming and undisputed evidence of Donald Trump’s guilt and culpability in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“While he has been acquitted, again, Donald Trump was found guilty by a historic number of senators from his own party. He will have the unique distinction in our nation’s history of losing the popular vote twice and being the only president to be impeached twice. This was a dark chapter in American history.”

Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.): “If the Senate is about upholding traditions, then they should uphold the tradition of the rule of law. We can never again allow anyone, not even a president, to incite violence against the Constitution.” (This was tweeted prior to the Senate vote)

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