Pittsburgh representatives respond to calls for Trump’s impeachment

click to enlarge Conor Lamb - PHOTO: COURTESY OF SEBASTIAN FOLTZ

Photo: Courtesy of Sebastian Foltz

Conor Lamb

The events of Wed., Jan. 6 prompted Pennsylvania politicians across the state, and across party lines, to issue statements condemning, with varying degrees of intensity, the insurrection by pro-Trump protesters on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Local U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills) first made a statement while the events involving the violent mob were still unfolding. “This is solely on Donald Trump, he is personally responsible,” Doyle told Pittsburgh City Paper on Jan. 6. “He brought them down here.”

On Jan. 7, Doyle issued a statement on social media announcing he was cosponsoring articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. "He demonstrated yesterday that every day he’s President is a day he will try to overturn the election and undermine our democracy," said Doyle in his statement. "He must be removed from office immediately."

Other representatives in Pittsburgh and beyond have joined Doyle in his condemnation and calls for impeachment. On Jan. 10, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon) explained in a Twitter thread why he supports impeaching Trump and why "it must be done immediately."

He went on to explain that, even though it's currently unlikely for the Republicans in the Senate to impeach Trump, the House doing so would ensure that things are ready to go should representatives in the Senate have a change of heart.

"Since Wednesday, many people have observed that there should have been busloads of police & military personnel ready to go in case something like this happened," wrote Lamb. "Impeachment is the political equivalent of that. We need to be ready to go, which means we need to do it immediately."

The insurrection began as a protest by Trump supporters against the false allegations that President-elect Joe Biden's victory was "stolen." It coincided with Congress meeting to certify Biden’s win. Before people stormed the Capitol, Trump held a "Save America Rally" to bolster the lie that he wrongfully lost the election.

In his speech, Trump encouraged his supporters to "walk down to the Capitol," which has been closed to the public for months due to the pandemic. He also told the crowd, "We're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them," and "You'll never take back our country with weakness."

The protesters turned violent and stormed the Capitol as a mob. It resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer and a rioter who was fatally shot by the police. The Capitol building itself was damaged, with glass shattered and objects stolen from congressional officers. Members of Congress were forced to shelter in their offices or within the House and Senate floors as the mob breached the rooms.

No Republican members of the House have, as of Jan. 11, publicly supported impeaching Trump or calling for his resignation. But U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh), who reliably sides with the more conservative wing of his party, is one of the few Republicans to suggest he would support Trump's impeachment.

In his initial reactions, Toomey was slightly hesitant, saying on Fox News, "I do think the president committed impeachable offenses, but I don't know what is going to land on the Senate floor if anything."

Later, Toomey told CNN's Jake Tapper that he feels Trump resigning is the best move, but again shied away from directly saying he would vote for the President's impeachment. Toomey called Trump resigning "the best path forward," but said that, while Trump "committed impeachable offenses," he didn't believe it would be possible to impeach Trump before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Scranton) does fully support impeaching and removing Trump “because he betrayed his oath to the Constitution and incited a mob to violence,” said Casey in a statement. The Democratic senator added that members of Congress who led the effort to overthrow a democratic election should also be held accountable.

Two Pittsburgh-area representatives, U.S. Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters) and Mike Kelly (R-Butler), both sued Pennsylvania over the presidential elections in an attempt to disenfranchise millions of mail-in voters.

Reschenthaler condemned the violence at the Capitol, but on Twitter, endorsed House GOP Kevin McCarthy's statement, which said "Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more."

Kelly also brushed away impeachment, saying in a statement, “I don't believe President Trump committed an impeachable offense when he told those at the rally to protest peacefully and make their voices heard.”