Why Trump must be impeached and removed

January 13, 2021


We are less than two weeks into 2021, and our nation is at a dangerous crossroads. The road behind us is littered with violent acts of insurrection. The path ahead is uncertain, as mobs plan more riots as Inauguration Day approaches.

The victory of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sent a clear message that America is ready for change. During a pandemic, working people fought to elect a man who once commuted round trip from Wilmington, Del., to Washington on a daily basis to make it home in time to his young sons, and the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, who graduated from one of our nation’s oldest historically Black universities.

One thing we know about these United States of America is that history is bound to repeat itself. Last week, while we were still rejoicing about the wins in November, the more recent wins of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia, and the genius of Stacey Abrams, racists who feel threatened by the progress and achievement of people of color and worker-friendly candidates attacked our democracy.

Make no mistake, last week’s attack on the Capitol building was not a peaceful protest. Instead, self-proclaimed maskless “patriots” decided to attempt a coup to stop the will of the people — the certification of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Vicious threats were made against the lives of elected officials — working people on the job. Five lives were lost, and federal property was damaged. To be clear, all of this destruction was sanctioned by Donald Trump, a man who just four years ago vowed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Trump built the fire, fanned the flames, and when it was time to extinguish the blaze, he sat idly by, watching the destruction continue.

The decision is simple. Anyone who would turn his back on the American people and encourage an angry mob to do the same is unfit to lead our country for one more day. I stand with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader-elect Chuck Schumer and with all elected officials of good conscience who are poised to impeach Trump once and for all.

But that is not enough. I urge our lawmakers, on behalf of millions of hard-working American women and men to conduct a Senate trial and convict him of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for inciting insurrection in violation of his sacred duty to protect the Constitution.

In the words of the House article of impeachment, Trump’s actions “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a co-equal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

A Senate conviction is looking more realistic with each passing day as top Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, abandon Trump. A conviction would not only destroy any positive legacy he hoped to have but also would remove him from office and — most importantly — disqualify him from ever again holding political office.

Our elected officials are chosen to do the will of the people, and that will must include protecting our democracy from all acts of terrorism, both foreign and domestic. What we saw last week was terrorism incited from a bully pulpit. Now is the time to remove the pulpit and leave the bully, Trump, to do something he’s never done: fend for himself.

Jan. 20 is coming, and with it will come real leadership of which we can be proud. My hope is that we can get back to the business of healing our nation. Between the COVID-19 vaccine and its potential to make this pandemic a thing of the past, and the hope of real action for working people, the future looks bright. When history speaks of the Trump presidency, may it tell of the cowardice of the man who led an attack on our democracy because he lost an election, and how he was stopped by the working people who used justice and healing to take back our nation.

Gresham is president of 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare union in the country.