WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Jan. 12, the office of U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement, in which Sen. King expresses his firmly-held belief that President Trump should be removed from office immediately. In his statement, Sen. King emphasizes the dangerous rhetoric employed by the president in the days prior to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and argues that national unity cannot be achieved by ignoring assaults on our democratic systems.
“For the past nine weeks, in the midst of a pandemic costing thousands of lives each day, President Donald Trump has focused his energy on a baseless, dangerous effort to undermine the results of a democratically-held election,” said Sen. King. “These blatant lies, amplified by Congressional enablers who seemed all-too-willing to neglect their oath for short-term political gain, have caused millions of Americans to lose faith in our elections – the beating heart of our democratic system. This crisis built until January 6th, when President Trump incited a frenzied crowd to head to the Capitol to ‘fight much harder’ and ‘show strength,’ while his top surrogate in this effort, Rudy Giuliani, took to the same stage to call for ‘trial by combat.’ A short time later, the crowd followed their marching orders by invading the Capitol brandishing zip ties, using the American flag on a flagpole as a weapon, and leading to several deaths – including at least one Capitol Police Officer.
“Even this morning, the President refused to acknowledge the severity of last week’s events or his role in fomenting the attack. This pursuit of personal gain over the good of the American people isn’t particularly surprising to anyone who has watched Donald Trump operate over the last several decades, but it is unprecedented behavior from anyone who has occupied the Oval Office. After the events of January 6th, it is more clear than ever that President Trump poses a danger to the Republic, and that if he is allowed to remain in office for the next eight days, this intemperate and impulsive person could use his powers in ways that further jeopardize our national security and the safety of the American people. That is why President Trump should be immediately removed from office – either through his own resignation, the 25th Amendment, or, if necessary, impeachment.
“Many of my Republican colleagues who have spent the last two months undermining the results of a free and fair election are now trying to reject any conversation of impeachment by wrapping themselves in the cloak of unity. It is, frankly, absurd; as if they themselves lit a fire and then sought a firefighter’s protective suit as blowback puts them in peril. The validity of the 2020 election has been supported by the President’s hand-picked Attorney General, the nation’s election security agency, and election officials in each of the nation’s 50 states – but even with this clear knowledge, 8 Senate Republicans and nearly 140 House Republicans voted to object to the will of American voters. Even worse: they cast these votes after the President’s supporters assaulted the Capitol. They saw firsthand the harmful consequences of their lies, but they kept telling them. That is shameful.
“I agree that unifying our country to move forward together must be our highest priority – but I also believe that any effort to build national unity cannot simply paper over assaults on our democratic systems and the lies that made them possible. To put our nation on the path towards healing, we must tell the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable. Let’s start with this clear and obvious fact: Donald Trump’s campaign to undermine our democratic system is the single most irresponsible act ever committed by a United States President in our history. He must be held accountable.”
On Jan. 6, Senator King argued in a speech on the Senate floor that it is vital to tell the American people the truth, even when uncomfortable, stating: “we cannot afford to pull bricks out from the foundation of trust that underlies our entire system”. Earlier that day, Senator King condemned the violent insurrection at the Capitol, and called for all of his colleagues to “speak the clear and honest facts” and no longer enable President Trump’s attempts to undermine faith in America’s elections. Days before the insurrection, he called efforts by Congressional leaders to spread President Trump’s dangerous disinformation “one of the most serious assaults upon our country’s democratic system in American history”.