PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A growing number of Democrats who represent Southern New England in Congress are lining up behind the push to impeach President Trump for a second time in light of last week’s violent attack on the Capitol by his supporters.
Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline was the first federal lawmaker to call for Trump’s removal as Wednesday’s attack was happening, and he is now one of the three lead sponsors of the impeachment article that is set to receive a House vote on Wednesday.
“In all my experience I’ll never have a more clear-cut vote,” Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating, whose district includes New Bedford, told 12 News. “It’s not related to my past voting. You look at the situation as a unique one — unfortunately, it’s unprecedented.”
Asked if he expected any Republicans to vote to impeach, Keating replied, “Who knows? I’ll tell you this — they all should.” He added that Americans should consider how they would have viewed the riot if it happened in the capital of a foreign country.
If the House does impeach Trump, the action will move to the Senate, which will have to hold a trial and decide whether to convict him. Some Democrats have expressed concern that the effort could derail President-elect Biden’s early days in office, and Republicans have urged them to halt the effort.
But Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said impeachment is the right move.
“I think we’ve had just an extraordinary thing happen in our country’s history and the idea that we’re just going to whistle and walk away from it would be dereliction,” Whitehouse said, adding, “The trial itself could be extremely quick. I’d be surprised if there’s anybody who doesn’t have a pretty good idea how they’re going to vote on this.”
As for GOP senators who don’t want to see impeachment come to the chamber, Whitehouse said, “I’m sorry. I love a lot of my Republican colleagues, but their discomfort in having to vote on this is simply not significant in the equation.”
Watch 12 News politics editor Ted Nesi’s full interviews with Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Keating about impeachment below.