Hours before former President Trump’s second impeachment trial is set to begin, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday took aim at Republicans who’ve issued misguided calls for unity after their months-long jaunt of parroting Trump’s election fraud falsehoods that culminated in the deadly Capitol insurrection last month.
Schumer began a Senate Democratic press conference on Tuesday by hitting back at the notion shared by Trump loyalists that it’s time to move on from the Capitol riots. The Senate majority leader said that the chamber has a “solemn responsibility to try and hold” Trump accountable for “the most serious charges” against a president.
“Those who say let’s move on, that brings unity, are false,” Schumer said. “When you had such a serious invasion of the Capitol, incited by a president who we know urged people, told people the election was false, urged people to come to Washington, urged people to March on the Capitol, the Senate has to find is he guilty in inciting the violence that ensued.”
Schumer doubled down on calling Republicans’ bluff of calling for “unity” as their rationale against proceeding with the impeachment trial.
“When you have such a serious charge, sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity,” Schumer said. “It will keep the sore open, the wounds open. You need truth and accountability.”
After saying that he expects the House impeachment managers to “present a very strong case” involving “powerful” and some new evidence, Schumer implored senators to “pay careful attention” to the evidence.
“I particularly urge my Republican colleagues, despite the pressure on them, pay very real attention to the evidence here because it’s very, very serious,” Schumer said. “Every senator, Democrat and Republican, has to approach this trial with the gravity it deserves. And that is really important for the future of this country.”
Schumer reminded senators that Trump incited his supporters to breach the Capitol and endanger lawmakers’ safety in the name of the former president’s unfounded claims of a “stolen” election.
“A mob of white supremacists and insurrectionists and domestic terrorists falsely believed the election was stolen and tried to overthrow the government,” Schumer said. “And as I said, the trial is about the President — whether the president, the man chiefly responsible for feeding the mob with the lies that motivated their behavior, who told them to come to D.C. —directed them at the capitol is guilty of inciting the violence.”
Trump’s second impeachment trial is scheduled to kick off Tuesday afternoon with a debate over the constitutionality of trying the former president in the first place now that he’s out of office — a disputed legal argument that Republicans have latched onto in the weeks leading up to the trial.
Watch Schumer’s remarks below:
Senate Majority Leader Schumer on former President Trump's impeachment trial: "I urge all my colleagues to pay careful attention to the evidence. I particularly urge my Republican colleagues, despite the pressure on them, to pay very real attention to the evidence here." pic.twitter.com/KnqYPmTFTA
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 9, 2021