Daily Press: Virginia lawmakers call for Trump to be removed from power now, saying the president supported ‘domestic terrorism’
Virginia lawmakers call for Trump to be removed from power now, saying the president supported ‘domestic terrorism'
January 7, 2021 | By Ana Ley, Sierra Jenkins, and Dave Ress
Multiple Virginia lawmakers called Thursday for the ouster of President Donald Trump, the day after a mob of Trump supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overthrow the results of America’s presidential election.
The state’s two U.S. senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and two U.S. Representatives, Elaine Luria and Bobby Scott, condemned the president’s behavior during the melee.
All four Democratic legislators said invoking a constitutional amendment to remove the president from power should be on the table. Hampton Roads’ only Republican member of Congress, on the other hand, voted against one set of electors in the presidential election and called his decision necessary to ensure public confidence in voting.
“Americans and our allies around the world have been alarmed at the events of the past week,” Scott said in a statement. “However, President Trump has been a risk to democracy and national security for many weeks now, and arguably since he first took office. It has become clear that the risk of him staying in office exceeds the risk involved in removing him from office.”
Noting that there are thirteen days until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office, Scott said Trump’s actions “led to the events of this unprecedented and tragic week” and “there are significant risks to our nation if President Trump remains in office.”
Kaine told a group of reporters during a press conference held via Zoom: “I had colleagues who were afraid. I had colleagues who were sad. I’ll tell you, I was just pissed off. I was so pissed off.”
Kaine, who also used a profanity to refer to some House members who tried to overturn the results of the election, later remarked that he does not usually curse but did so because he was still furious.
Referring to the riot as “an insurrection,” a “violent protest,” and an “act of domestic terrorism,” Kaine also demanded an investigation into why law enforcement agencies were “inadequately prepared to a shocking degree” in handling of the crowd.
Kaine said he supports efforts to invoke the 25th Amendment, under which the vice president, Congress and a majority of Cabinet members could declare the president unable to carry out his duties. If that happened, Vice President Mike Pence would become acting president temporarily. That could last until noon Jan. 20, when Joe Biden is sworn in as president.
Warner agreed, and during a conference call Thursday, also sharply criticized the response of law enforcement at the Capitol.
“There was no robust plan,” Warner said. “There was not the kind of preparation that I had been promised, literally, the night before by a senior official at the FBI.”
“There had been so much chatter on social media … that anyone that didn’t anticipate and couldn’t have predicted that there was a possibility of this kind of activity happening, shouldn’t be in the intelligence or law enforcement business.”
Warner referred to the pro-Trump protesters as a “mob” and “domestic terrorists” during the call, adding that they were incited by the president.
In a phone call Thursday afternoon, Luria said it was important for the public to see that the lawmakers weren’t deterred by the violence. She said Trump has proven that he’s a threat to the country and that she believes the 25th Amendment would be the fastest way to remove him from office.
“I think that the president needs to be held accountable for the fact that he incited this violence and enabled these people who rioted and overran the US Capitol,” she said.
The next two weeks, she added, “could be very dangerous for our country.”
Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican, voted against a slate of electors from Pennsylvania late Wednesday night, then issued a statement condemning the violence in Washington.
“This was not about overturning the election, I knew my vote wasn’t going to do that,” Wittman said in an interview Thursday. “Look, I know emotions are raw. People feel passionately ... what makes it worse is when people feel disenfranchised. It’s important that they know their concerns are heard and debated.”
Wittman called for an audit to review why the attackers were able to cross four barricades and enter the Capitol. He called the attack a blemish on the nation that left him saddened and hoping it won’t stop people from working together to tackle the nation’s challenges.
Nationally, other top lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, also have called for the vice president and Cabinet to remove Trump from power. So have some Republicans, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.