xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

What Maryland members of Congress said: ‘Will we not stand up and say this is not acceptable?’

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had a question for the members of the House of Representatives sitting in their offices and chambers on Wednesday.

Would they stay silent?

Advertisement

“Will we not stand up and say this is not acceptable?” Hoyer said during the final moments of debate before the House voted on articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump.

Democrats, as well as 10 Republicans, answered back with a resounding yes.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Hoyer, one of four Democrats representing Anne Arundel County, had the last words.

“Reject deceit,” he said. “Reject fear-mongering. Reject sedition, tyranny and insurrection. Reject the demand of fealty to one man over fidelity to one’s country.”

Seven of Maryland’s eight congressmen joined the majority in voting to impeach Trump Wednesday, making him the first president to be impeached twice. All Democrats, they voted on one article of impeachment, inciting the insurrection on Jan. 6 that result in five deaths during an assault on the Capitol.

Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s lone Republican congressman, skipped the vote.

Advertisement

The impeachment had strong ties to Maryland, with the articles drawn up by Rep. Jamie Raskin, who represents parts of Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties.

But it was Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in Congress, who had some of the strongest words for the president’s conduct.

He focused on the statements by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who supported the impeachment. Cheney, House GOP conference chair and the third-ranking Republican in the House, called Trump’s actions a betrayal by the president.

“This attack was not from abroad,” Hoyer said. “It was, as Liz Cheney said, summoned, assembled and inflamed by the president of the United States of America.”

Some Republicans, including Harris, said the impeachment was a waste of time because Trump’s time in office ends Jan. 20.

In a tweeted statement, Harris said that he would have voted against the impeachment but that he chose instead to spend the day caring for patients.

“Engaging in a political impeachment that will be moot in one week was another waste of time brought to you by the Democrat majority,” he wrote.

While Trump only has seven days left in office, the impeachment was not about timing, Hoyer said. It’s about the danger Trump presents to the country.

“There can be no mistaking any longer the kind of man sitting in the Oval Office or his intentions and capabilities,” he said.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, who represents part of the Anne Arundel, said the country cannot just start anew with President-elect Joe Biden in office.

The country needs to show the rest of the world that the people will not stand for violence incited by the president. Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud and urging his supporters to fight led to the violence on Jan. 6, the congressman said.

“What Trump did as president of the United States was horrific,” Ruppersberger said.

Rep. Anthony Brown, a Prince George’s County Democrat who also represents part of Anne Arundel, called Trump a national security threat. The threat justified the impeachment.

“President Trump represents a real threat to our national security, our democratic institutions and the people of this country,” Brown said.

This is the second time Brown spoke in favor of impeachment in less than a year and a half, he said in an interview after the vote. This impeachment hearing was different because the congressmen were not disputing the facts. Rather, depending on their party, they came to different conclusions, he said.

It did not surprise him that most Republicans, even ones who voted against overturning the election results, did not speak in favor of impeachment.

The vote to impeach Trump came after Vice President Mike Pence said he would not invoke the 25th Amendment and work with members of the cabinet to remove the president’s powers on the grounds that he is unfit for office.

That left the House with no choice but to use the impeachment process, Rep. John Sarbanes said.

“Every moment that Donald Trump remains in office, he presents a grave danger to our country,” Sarbanes said in a statement released after the vote. “He must be removed from office — immediately.”

In his comments on the floor, Sarbanes emphasized the attack on the Capitol and the harm done to the country’s reputation.

“The Capitol dome is a symbol of freedom and democracy, not just for Americans but for the people of the world over,” he said. “The action we take today, this impeachment, is a declaration to the world that when there is an attack on our democracy, whether it comes from without or whether, tragically in this instance, it comes from within, we will respond to that threat and attack and do what’s necessary to strengthen our democracy.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement