Local officials express their views regarding Trump, impeachment
On Wednesday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” against the U.S. government. This comes after a group of pro-Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week, leaving five people dead. The group was trying to overturn the certification of the presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.
He’s the first president to have been impeached twice.
Trump now faces a Senate trial likely after his term ends (he leaves office Jan. 20). It could vote on barring him from seeking future elected office if he is convicted.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) last week said Trump “bears responsibility” for Wednesday’s Capitol riots by “promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.” He hasn’t said anything yet about which way he will vote during Senate trial. Last year, during Trump’s first impeachment trial, both Burr and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) voted to not remove Trump from office.
Ten Republicans in the House voted to impeach Trump, though U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents NC’s 8th congressional district which includes Stanly, was not one of them. In a statement Tuesday, he said the impeachment “is not serious” considering Trump has only a few days left in office.
He preached for unity saying that “Republicans and Democrats must come together to reaffirm our commitment to the Constitution, seek understanding, and start the process of restoring the faith of the American people in our institutions of government.”
About the violence at the capitol, Hudson tweeted last week that “violence will not change the outcome (of the election) and is completely counter to this process.”
For a more local perspective regarding impeachment and Trump’s role in the attack last week, The Stanly News & Press reached out to prominent Democrats and Republicans in the area to get their opinions.
N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly) said everyone who was involved in the storming of the Capitol should be prosecuted.
“It has nothing to do with who they are or why they were there, you either broke the law or you didn’t break the law,” he said.
Sasser said Trump holds no blame when it comes to last week’s attack and he opposed the impeachment, noting that each person who stormed the Capitol did so of their own volition.
“As far as this silly, crazy stuff that’s going on to impeach the president that has less than 10 days in office, it’s ludicrous and is totally counterproductive,” he said.
With the election of Biden officially certified, Sasser said Republicans need to move on and accept that Trump lost.
“The Republicans tried everything under the sun to stop that from happening (Biden’s election) but it didn’t,” he said.
Though Sasser didn’t agree with the results, “we need to live with it,” he said, “because that’s what we do in this country and that’s how our democracy works.”
Mark Lowder, chairman of the Stanly County Republican Party, echoed Sasser’s sentiment that Trump bears no responsibility for what occurred last week at the Capitol. He also believed Trump should not be impeached since he will shortly be out of office and everyone who did vote to impeach was “wasting their time.”
“The leadership in the House is simply vindictive,” he said.
Dylan Frick, who lives in Norwood and is chairman of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party, condemned Trump’s role in the violence.
“It’s on Trump and it’s also on everybody else that’s continued to enable Trump,” he said.
Frick also disagreed with Hudson’s comments that the impeachment was not serious.
“I would say the impeachment vote is very serious,” he said. “We take the storming of the Capitol and the murder of a capitol police officer very seriously.”
By opposing impeachment, Hudson and other Republicans “are just continuing to side with the radical insurrectionists who tried to overthrow the government last week,” Frick said.
“What happened was horrific and what we have is the radicalization here in our own country,” said Kevin Taylor, chairman of the Stanly County Democratic Party, referring to the crowd that took part in the failed insurrection, many of them whom were aligned with hate groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.
“They need to impeach him and we need justice for the five people that have died and for these Congress people whose lives were in danger and for desecrating what’s a sacred place in our country,” Taylor said.
Though Trump will likely be out of office by the time the Senate votes, Taylor said it’s still important for them to convict because he broke the law.
“If you’re speeding through the neighborhood and the cop pulls you over, you can’t tell him that in one week you’re going to sell your car,” he said.