Members of Congress from the Philadelphia area are broadly backing an effort initiated by House Democrats Monday to remove President Donald Trump from office before next week’s inauguration.
The legislative action comes after last Wednesday’s attack at the Capitol, when a pro-Trump mob swarmed the building where lawmakers were meeting to certify the results of November’s presidential election.
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat whose district covers parts of the city, barricaded for hours with his staff during the siege and said he’s worried about what Trump could do next. To Boyle, it’s also about principle.
“If you are not going to pursue impeachment against a president who has just incited insurrection, an attack on the Congress of the United States, and an attack that ended up leading to the death of five people,” he said in an interview Monday. “If you’re not willing to impeach over that, then obviously you’re not willing to impeach over anything.”
The impeachment resolution, introduced Monday, charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection,” alleging his speech to protesters earlier in the day led to the Capitol siege.
It also cites the president’s phone call urging a Georgia elections official to “find” him enough votes to overturn the results in that state.
The House is expected to consider impeachment Wednesday, unless Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s own cabinet decide to oust him through the 25th Amendment.
Philadelphia Congressman Dwight Evans quickly co-sponsored the resolution and said he’s been pushing for Trump to be impeached for more than two years.
“I called last week for the immediate reconvening of Congress because Trump has demonstrated again that he is unfit for office and must be removed,” Evans said in a statement to Metro.
U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Delaware County and parts of South Philadelphia and Montgomery County, called the president “a clear and present danger to our country” on social media.
“The Senate found enough time to confirm Supreme Court Justice Barrett — they can find enough time to convict a President who incited an insurrection,” suburban U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean tweeted Sunday.
At least 213 Democrat House members have signed onto the resolution.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey surprised some over the weekend when he became the second Republican senator to call for Trump to resign. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” he said it would be “the best way to get this person in the rear view mirror for us.”
“I think the president did commit impeachable offenses,” Toomey added. “There’s little doubt in my mind about that. I don’t know as a practical matter that it is actually even possible to do an impeachment in the handful of days that are left.”
President-Elect Joe Biden is due to be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and, according to Reuters, the Senate would not begin to consider removing Trump until the day before.
Boyle suggested the Senate could hold could undergo an accelerated processing, with a one-day trial to make sure Trump doesn’t take even more extreme steps to stay in the White House.
“At any minute, Donald Trump could start nuclear war,” Boyle added.
The fall-out from the chaos at the Capitol continued this week, with Mayor Jim Kenney saying Monday that his administration is investigating at least one city employee “said to have attended” the protest in Washington, D.C.
Kenney said officials are examining to find out if the person broke any laws or engaged in violence during the chaotic event.
“Rest assured that should this individual or any City worker be implicated in criminal activity as a result of that demonstration, he or she will be disciplined up to and including termination,” he said in a statement.
The Inquirer reported Sunday that a Philadelphia police detective was reassigned after the department received information that she attended the protest.
Kenney said he fully supports the rights of all citizens to express their right to free speech and asked anyone with knowledge of municipal employees breaking the law during the events at the Capitol to contact the city’s Inspector General at 215-686-1770, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 311.