The North Olympic Peninsula’s Washington D.C. delegation called for President Donald Trump’s removal from office with 12 days left in his term for his part in Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol. Opinion was divided Thursday among Democrats and Republicans on the Peninsula.
Gov. Jay Inslee, congressional leaders and nine U.S. Senate and House members from Washington state, including Rep. Derek Kilmer, by Thursday afternoon supported invoking the 25th Amendment against Trump, pointing to his speech Wednesday and his actions leading to thousands of Trump supporters storming the Capitol complex.
“After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you,” Trump told them at a massive rally Wednesday before they moved to the Capitol while he stayed in the White House, watching on television while supporters rioted outside and inside the Capitol.
The Capitol building was closed to the public while Congress certified Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump in the general election.
Trump told the crowd that “we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women.
“We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
After the speech, members of the crowd broke into the Capitol, swarming through the corridors chanting “Stop the Steal,” vandalizing offices and injuring outnumbered police.
Hours later, Trump called for rioters to “go home,” while saying he understood their actions and “loved them.”
Failing invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would require a bipartisan effort including Vice President Mike Pence’s approval, lawmakers such as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said impeachment proceedings should begin against Trump for a second time.
The vandalism and violence Wednesday resulted in four deaths and lawmakers, with staff members, fleeing to safety.
“The president is manifestly unfit for office,” Kilmer said in a prepared statement, calling for invoking the 25th Amendment.
“He has demonstrated it time and again over the last four years and his actions today incited violence not just against the Capitol building but against our representative democracy,” said Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat who represents the 6th Congressional District.
“I agree with retired U.S. Navy admiral and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen that Donald Trump is ‘not in a position to lead the next (12) days’ and that ‘we need to act in a preventive way to prevent more from happening.’”
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Seattle said that like those who invaded the Capitol, Trump should be held accountable for his actions.
“The most immediate way to ensure the President is prevented from causing further harm in coming days is to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office,” she said.
Sen. Maria Cantwell of Mountlake Terrace, said — like Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — that she would support 25th Amendment action as well as impeachment.
“I will support impeachment again for abusing power and attempting to interfere in the election results in Georgia,” Cantwell said in her statement.
“Promulgating misinformation as he did [Wednesday] about our election system is a threat to our democracy. He is failing to uphold our Constitution.”
Inslee in a statement called Trump a cancer at the heart of Wednesday’s disturbance.
“We need to go to the heart of that insurrection, and remove that cancer, and that means the president of the United States, who has continually fueled this insurrection with his outright deception.”
Craig Durgan, Jefferson County Republican Party chair — who supports an independent commission looking into voting practices in light of the general election — would not comment Thursday on the question of removing Trump from office.
The party website at www.jeffgop.com still had Trump’s speech posted, which on the RSBN TV platform had 26.2 million views.
Sue Forde, Clallam County Republican Party chair, called for an investigation into the storming of the Capitol and the prosecution of those who breached it rather than assigning blame to Trump.
“There’s always two sides to the story,” she said. “Individuals are responsible for individual action.”
Bill Peach of Forks, a Republican Clallam County commissioner, said he condemned Wednesday’s violence but opposed removing Trump from office.
“I think the intent is vengeance, and I don’t see how that leads to constructive communication in the future,” Peach said, unsure if Trump’s actions meet the Amendment’s full requirements or the timeline it would require “without any results.”
Peach’s commission colleague, Democratic board Chairman Mark Ozias, said it was “obligatory” that Trump be removed from office by the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
“He has shown himself to be a clear and present danger to the rule of law in America and the core principals of democracy, and that cannot stand,” Ozias said, adding Trump was guilty of “stoking and fueling the lies about election fraud [and] asking and inviting his supporters to come to Washington, D.C. specifically to cause disruption.”
During Trump’s remaining time in office, “there’s a tremendous amount of damage that could be done,” Ozias added.
Jefferson County Democrats’ Chair Marty Gilmore supported invoking the 25th Amendment as a bipartisan effort followed by, if that fails, impeachment.
“Every patriotic American should support the efforts to invoke the 25th Amendment,” Gilmore said, asserting that Trump actively encouraged sedition and an attack on the Capitol.
Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean, a Democrat, favored waiting for Trump to finish out his term.
“I would support removal of the president ideologically, but I am not advocating for it because I worry that it takes us further away from things like responding to COVID and getting the country back on track,” she said.
Clallam County Commissioner Randy Johnson, an independent who has supported Kilmer, also was against removing Trump, calling impeachment “a nonsensical approach.”
He wanted Wednesday’s mayhem to have a different result.
“I was hoping this episode would cause people to come together and work together,” Johnson said.