ALBANY — Following the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week that left five people dead, over 75 members of the state Assembly are calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-83, and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-109, released a letter Tuesday, signed by 75 other Assemblymembers,including Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, requesting that Congress remove the president prior to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.
Assemblymen Chris Tague, R-102, and Jake Ashby, R-107, did not sign the letter.
“The deadly, violent acts of domestic terrorism we witnessed last week at the U.S. Capitol were an assault on our democracy incited by President Trump and his allies. He must be held responsible,” Heastie said in a statement. “I stand with my Assembly Majority colleagues in urging Congress to take immediate action to impeach and remove the president from office. We must set the precedent that attempting to overturn the will of the American people cannot and will not be tolerated, nor will threats against the New York State Capitol and the hard working New Yorkers who come to work here every day.”
Fahy agreed the President’s role in inciting violence last week should have consequences.
“Words matter, and actions have consequences,” Fahy said in a statement. “The President of the United States spoke and acted to purposely undermine our democracy in one of the most shocking displays of political violence ever witnessed at the U.S. Capitol. Having spent a number of years on Capitol Hill as congressional staff, I remain deeply unsettled by last Wednesday’s violence. The sitting President must be removed from office, and prevented from holding public office ever again. I thank Speaker Heastie for his support and leadership here at the New York State Capitol and I thank each of my colleagues for their support in signing this letter, and sending a message to our delegation.”
Tague opted to focus on matters more close to home, he said in a statement.
“With only nine days left until the inauguration of our next president, I am firmly focused on getting to work in Albany to make sure the voices of my constituents are heard and to do the work they elected me to do,” Tague said. “Given we are in the midst of State of the State and are now addressing what has been a too-slow distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, with families throughout the state continuing to struggle to make ends meet, my focus is entirely on helping the people of our state get through the hard times we’re in.”
Barrett denounced the violence at the Capitol last week.
“The violence we saw in Washington, D.C., was not only an attack on the U.S. Capitol buildings, but an assault on the democratic process and the rule of law we hold so dear,” Barrett said. “This violence is wholly unacceptable and an affront to the very notion of patriotism.”
Ashby called the events at the Capitol unacceptable.
“The violence and rioting at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable. We as a nation must be working toward unity and not sow further division,” Ashby said.
Ashby was among dozens of officials in Columbia County to sign a letter last week denouncing the violence; however, he did not join other Assembly members in signing Tuesday’s letter.
The assemblymembers’ letter calling for the president’s removal states the president’s allegations of election fraud were unfounded.
“President Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine our democracy by calling into question the results of a free and fair election this past November that has withstood more than 60 court challenges, repeatedly validating that there was no widespread abuse or fraud,” according to the letter. “Simply put, words have consequences — and the President’s repeated efforts to undermine the truth and rally supporters to his personal and authoritarian cause culminated in Wednesday’s direct attack on our Republic. To secure the future of democracy in the United States action must be taken to prevent a sitting President from subverting democracy.”
Describing the president as a threat to national security, the assemblymembers urged Trump to resign.
“For the sake of a free and democratic United States, President Trump must resign,” according to the letter. “If not, we the undersigned Members of the New York State Assembly urge Congress to act swiftly to remove him.”
The state officials expressed doubt that the 25th Amendment will be invoked.
“Recognizing it is unlikely that Vice President [Mike] Pence or the Cabinet will take steps to invoke the 25th Amendment, we urge and support congressional action to promptly pursue articles of impeachment,” according to the letter. “We do not make this recommendation lightly but believe the egregious and unprecedented actions of the sitting President warrant these steps. Moreover, it is necessary to establish a precedent and prevent any future occurrences.”
More unrest is expected in the coming week, according to the letter.
“Yesterday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned of potential armed protests at the U.S. Capitol and all 50 states, including the New York State Capitol in Albany from Jan. 16 though Jan. 20,” according to the letter.