By The HawkEye staff
INDIANA — On Feb. 13, Pennsylvania became the only state whose U.S. Senate delegation cast bipartisan votes to convict impeached ex-President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, a Democrat who has supported Trump on 28 percent of his floor votes, and Pat Toomey, a Republican who has compiled an 85 percent pro-Trump voting record, both joined the 57-43 majority in favor of conviction.
(Maine and Vermont also have partisan splits in their Senate delegations, but Independent Sens. Angus King, of Maine, and Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, caucus with Democrats. Both members voted for conviction along with their respective states’ Democratic colleagues.)
Saturday’s Senate vote fell short of the 67 votes required to convict. But it stands as the most bipartisan vote for conviction in any of the four presidential impeachments in U.S. history. (Trump’s second impeachment vote in the House of Representatives on Jan. 13 likewise stands as the most bipartisan in U.S. history.)
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
President Donald Trump’s defense team made several accurate observations at the impeachment trial. Many elected Democrats did want to impeach President Trump from the moment he won the 2016 election. The mainstream media was unrelentingly biased and hostile to the president. Both often overlooked violent riots when perpetrated in favor of causes they found sympathetic last summer.
However, these facts do not make President Trump’s conduct in response to losing the 2020 election acceptable. He began with dishonest, systematic attempts to convince supporters that he had won. His lawful, but unsuccessful, legal challenges failed due to lack of evidence. Then, he applied intense pressure on state and local officials to reverse the election outcomes in their states.
When these efforts failed, President Trump summoned thousands to Washington, D.C., and inflamed their passions by repeating disproven allegations about widespread fraud. He urged the mob to march on the Capitol for the explicit purpose of preventing Congress and the vice president from formally certifying the results of the presidential election. All of this to hold on to power despite having legitimately lost.
As a result of President Trump’s actions, for the first time in American history, the transfer of presidential power was not peaceful. A lawless attempt to retain power by a president was one of the founders’ greatest fears motivating the inclusion of the impeachment authorities in the U.S. Constitution.
I was one of the 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump, in part because of the many accomplishments of his administration. Unfortunately, his behavior after the election betrayed the confidence millions of us placed in him.
His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
This past week, the House managers put forward a compelling case based upon irrefutable facts against the former president of the United States.
For months after the election, we all witnessed the former president’s “Big Lie” when he repeatedly claimed—without any evidence—that the 2020 general election was stolen from him. This lie was roundly dismissed by more than 60 judges across the nation—including in Pennsylvania.
After losing in federal and state courts, he then tried to pressure state and local elections officials to overturn the election, and even attempted to pressure his vice president to violate the vice president’s constitutional duty.
After repeatedly failing to overturn the election, the former president summoned his mob of insurrectionists to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, for one more attack on American democracy. He invited them. He incited them. And he directed them to the Capitol to prevent Congress from conducting its constitutional obligation to count the presidential electoral votes.
This case was not merely about the former president’s speech on Jan. 6. This was about a pattern of conduct. It was about the former president’s autocratic leadership and calls for political violence throughout his presidency. It was about a president who regularly condoned or encouraged violence at political rallies against protestors and members of the press. It was about a president who once bragged: “I have the tough people [supporting me], but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
There is no way that a reasonable person could dispute that the former president knew exactly what he was doing by perpetuating the “Big Lie,” summoning his crowd of insurrectionists on Jan. 6 and telling them: “[I]f you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” The former president led his supporters to a breaking point and as he had predicted in the past — it was “very bad, very bad.”
He did not merely endanger another branch of government and the presidential line of succession. His actions led to at least five deaths, injuries to nearly 140 members of law enforcement and untold collateral damage resulting from the carnage of that day. He endangered the lives of countless congressional staffers and employees, members of the press and members of Congress. He put a target on the back of his own vice president and his vice president’s family. And he has shown no remorse for any of it.
The former president attacked the foundational principles of our democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. He violated his oath of office and he committed a high crime against our constitution. I voted to convict the former president in the most bipartisan presidential impeachment proceedings in our nation’s history.