House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday dismissed concerns that sending the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate would alienate his supporters, saying that forgoing a trial against Trump is “not how you unify.”
Pelosi’s comments came during a morning press briefing after a reporter asked the speaker if she was worried that proceeding to an impeachment trial would “undercut” President Joe Biden’s call for unity that he made at his inauguration speech Wednesday.
“No, I’m not worried about that,” Pelosi said. “The fact is the president of the United States committed an act of incitement of insurrection. I don’t think it’s very unifying to say, ‘Oh, let’s just forget it and move on.’”
Pelosi is set to send one impeachment article against Trump to the Senate after the House voted 232–197 to impeach the then-president last week for “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
House Republicans, less ten who voted in favor of impeachment, broadly agreed that the move was not an appropriate solution to addressing the riot, but Pelosi still plans to charge ahead with delivering the article. Dropping impeachment proceedings would actually defy Biden’s unity message, she argued.
“That’s not how you unify. Joe Biden said it beautifully. If we’re going to unite, you must remember that we must, we must bring this— look, that’s our responsibility to uphold the integrity of the Congress of the United States,” Pelosi said. “That’s our responsibility, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And that is what we will do.”
Pelosi continued to elaborate on her justification for supporting an impeachment trial:
Just because he’s now gone — thank God — you don’t say to a president, “Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration. You’re gonna get a get-out-of-jail card free,” because people think we should make nice-nice and forget that people died here on January 6, that the attempt to undermine our election, to undermine our democracy, to dishonor our Constitution— no, I don’t see that at all. I think that would be harmful to unity.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), while he has said Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack on the Capitol, opposes continuing the impeachment process and, contrary to Pelosi’s comments, believes that dismissing the impeachment article would be what sends a unifying message to the country.
“I think impeachment was totally wrong. It was purely politically driven. … Now President Trump is a private citizen. Why would you spend your time on this?” McCarthy said Thursday on America’s Newsroom. “This is where I think President Joe Biden could have shown the nation he really was uniting. Let’s not do impeachment. Let’s dismiss this. Let’s unite this nation.”
Pelosi has continued to stay silent on when she plans to formally deliver the impeachment article but affirmed Thursday that “it’ll be soon” and that the Senate is “ready to receive” it. The only questions remaining relate to “how a trial will proceed,” she said. “But we are ready.”
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