Across the Baltimore metro region, hundreds of citizens took to the streets Tuesday to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump on the eve of the House of Representatives’ vote on the articles of impeachment.
In Baltimore City, hundreds gathered at McKeldin Square at the intersection of Light and Pratt streets armed with signs calling from Trump to be removed from office as part of the nationwide “No One is Above the Law” rallies before Wednesday’s vote.
The night was a mixture of passionate cries for impeachment and somber reminders of how this is only the fourth time in American history a president has faced articles of impeachment.
Garrett Epps, a constitutional professor at the University of Baltimore, said Trump’s administration has undermined the country’s laws regarding the checks and balances of power in government.
“He has mounted a frontal assault on our Constitution,” Epps said, saying it “binds the powerful as well as the powerless.”
As protesters cheered cars honking their horns and chanted along with calls for impeachment, speakers told those in attendance that Wednesday’s House vote was not a celebratory one, but a solemn one.
Kobi Little, president of Baltimore’s branch of the NAACP, said Trump’s actions have forced Congress to spend their time largely focused on impeachment proceedings rather than legislation and policy measures. He said that while he supports Trump’s impeachment, it has hindered Congress’ ability to address everyday issues.
“It is unfortunate that the business of the U.S. Congress is consumed by impeachment,” Little said. “We’d rather see our government focusing on how to make sure every person has a place to lay their head at night that is safe and that is warm and that is sustainable.”
The House of Representatives is set to vote Wednesday on articles of impeachment as Democratic leadership says he abused his office during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July.
Trump asked the foreign leader to investigate Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, and his time on the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while the government held back nearly $400 million in military assistance to the country.
The president called the impeachment articles a “partisan impeachment crusade” in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying Democrats “are violating your oaths of office” and undermining the results of the 2016 election.
While Trump’s visit to Baltimore in September saw activists clash with Trump supporters in heated exchanges, Wednesday’s rally went largely undisturbed, with only passing jokes about the cold weather being a barrier to those in attendance.
Speaking to the crowd, Epps framed the issue as one of a crisis that strikes at the heart of the Constitution.
“The people here tonight, we know, this is not about parties. It’s not about polls. It’s not even really about politics,” Epps said. “It’s about the survival of the United States of America as a free nation.”
In Catonsville, outside the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore County district office, about 150 demonstrators lined both sides of Frederick Road in support of Trump’s impeachment.
Standing with his 7-year-old daughter, Faye, on his shoulders, Ellicott City resident Franklin Shian said he and his wife were teaching their children this holiday season about different religions and their history, and “a lot of it also covers the democratic process."
"We were talking about things that are considered wrong, and what is considered lawful — sometimes they don’t necessarily link up,” Shian said. “We wanted to show them that people who … believe in something, one of the avenues that they have in trying to raise their voice” is to demonstrate it publicly, Shian said.
The Rev. Angel Scarborough said: “We have a president who does not understand the gravity of allowing foreign influence and the danger it presents. I share Nancy Pelosi’s position; I pray for him. I pray for him every day, but we have to name what is.”
In Annapolis over 100 gathered at City Dock surrounding the Alex Haley/Kunta Kinte Memorial.
Joe and Judi Dunn of Hillsmere said they support Trump’s impeachment and see his administration as one that ignores the rules of law and decorum.
“He can’t break any more laws. He can’t change any more norms,” Judi Dunn said. ”We have grandchildren. The older ones know the difference. But the little ones they will never know what’s right and wrong if it stays this way.”
“And we certainly can’t have him for another four years,” Joe Dunn said.
At a rally near The Mall in Columbia in Howard County, more than 200 people attended.
Marti Wade of Ellicott City said she hoped drivers passing by the protest would see their signs and call their congressmen to urge them to support Trump’s impeachment.
“I’m here because Donald Trump broke his oath of office and he doesn’t uphold the Constitution,” Wade said. “He’s a danger to democracy and the next election can’t guarantee to be fair if he is still in office.”
In Harford County, people stood on both sides of Churchville Road, near U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’ district office in Bel Air, holding signs, chanting and singing. The protest had a holiday theme, with the singing of impeachment-themed Christmas carols, and a group of protesters holding large letters bearing lights to form the word “impeach.”
Rita Hewitt of Belcamp said Trump has abused his power and stressed that “our democracy, our Constitution is at stake.”
The Army veteran said she took an oath when she joined the service to “protect and defend” the Constitution.
“I stand with those brave men and women who are going to vote tomorrow,” Hewitt said of the members of the House of Representatives scheduled to debate and vote on articles of impeachment Wednesday.
Baltimore Sun Media reporters Taylor DeVille, Ana Faguy, David Anderson and E.B. Furgurson III contributed to this article.