Members of the New Jersey delegation agreed with the majority of the U.S. Senate that voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his action leading up to and on Jan. 6 when pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Sen. Bob Menendez, who cast one of the votes with the majority, stated the Senate trial made clear that President Trump spurred a violent attack on Congress and then betrayed his duty as Commander-in-Chief by failing to deploy the National Guard to aid the Capitol Police and save American lives. The Senate voted 57 guilty to 43 not guilty on Feb. 13, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict former President Trump.
“President Trump’s clear and stated motive was to overthrow a free and fair election in a desperate attempt to cling to power,” said Menendez in a press statement. “On Jan. 6, as Congress gathered to carry out our constitutional duty, he rallied his angry mob to fight on his behalf and stop the certification of the election results.”
The Senator described the nation paying a heavy price for the “lies President Trump spread so freely,” including a Capitol Police officer from New Jersey, scores suffering serious injuries and many who will carry unseen scars with them for years. He believes House impeachment managers proved the former President could have acted to save lives and defend the Capitol, but chose not to.
“I cannot think of any higher betrayal of our Constitution and dereliction of duty by a Commander-in-Chief than refusing to act to save American lives,” said Menendez.
“President Trump’s behavior was unforgivable, and his own lawyers failed to mount any compelling defense,” he added. “All we heard from his team were dangerous arguments that, if indulged by the Senate, would give every future outgoing President permission to use their final weeks in office to commit gross abuses of power without accountability.”
For the Garden State’s junior Senator, Sen. Cory Booker stated “The death, carnage and destruction at our Capitol was a despicable assault on our democracy, our values and our common humanity. Donald Trump incited this mob and watched it with delight. Today 43 Senate Republicans refused to hold Trump accountable. They chose to do nothing.”
Rep. Mikie Sherrill commended the House Impeachment Managers for building a strong case she believed left no doubt that the 45th U.S. President was guilty of inciting insurrection against the United States government.
“Donald Trump lied for months about the election, called his supporters to Washington specifically on January 6 to derail certification of the election, and further incited those supporters at his rally,” said Sherrill. “As the violence escalated and his supporters brutalized Capitol Police officers, ransacked the United States Capitol building, and hunted Vice President (Mike) Pence, Donald Trump did nothing to stop it. Rather, he further inflamed his supporters.”
The former prosecutor noted both the House indictment and the Senate vote for impeachment had bipartisan support and scolded Republcian Senators who “refused to stand up for our country and uphold their constitutional oath have set a dangerous precedent.”
“They have twisted our Constitution, the intentions of our founders, and the very notion of holding elected officials accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors. Whether for their own political ends or other reasons, it is an act of cowardice at a time that demands courage,” stated Sherrill.
Rep. Albio Sires noted while falling short of the needed threshold to convict, the vote showed a bipartisan majority believes Trump was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors against the U.S. government.
“Former President Trump is responsible for pushing conspiracy theories, protecting white supremacists and hate groups, lying to the American people, and inciting this violent insurrection that has left a trail of death and injury in its wake,” said Sires. “The former President’s refusal to take any responsibility or uphold his oath of office proves that he is unfit to hold such office.”