Rep. Debbie Dingell: 'Donald Trump continues to pose a dangerous threat to the American people'

January 09, 2021, 10:03 AM

This is excerpted from a Facebook post Saturday by the fourth-term Democratic congresswoman from Dearborn, who was evacuated from the House floor Wednesday. It's lightly edited for style and readability.

By Debbie Dingell

I started Friday early and ended it late in nonstop meetings full of raw feelings, honesty, the heaviness of what is happening and the responsibility for how we respond and what action needs to be taken.

We all talked -- in small groups, in large party caucuses, as Democrats and Republicans, in one-on-one conversations -- about what should the next steps be?

There was agreement the president of the United States directly encouraged these actions, fanned the flames and has responsibility for the attack on democracy Jan. 6. In the Democratic caucus, there was general agreement that he must be held accountable.

Donald Trump incited an invasion of the United States Capitol. He continues to pose a dangerous threat to the American people and our nation. The potential for continued, significant damage to our democracy is very real.

Rep. Debbie Dingell: "The president must be held accountable." (Photo: Michael Lucido/2019)

It is the hope of most Democratic members -- and many Republicans -- that the president immediately resign or that the Cabinet swiftly invokes the 25th Amendment. If neither occur, Congress is prepared to consider every available option, including the 25th Amendment and impeachment, to ensure he is no longer a threat to our nation.

There is agreement that we have a responsibility to protect our democracy and that the sitting president must be held accountable for his intolerable and egregious actions. How you do this without causing further harm to this country, without creating further division, and how do we begin to heal this nation is where discussions are focused.

I think the majority of people wish he would resign or the 25th Amendment would be used, but the need for immediate action is real. If neither has occurred by the beginning of the week, the caucus is prepared to move forward with a privileged motion that would impeach the president for a second time.

Americans have seen enough

Our job is to protect and defend the Constitution. The articles being drafted would charge him with inciting an insurrection and having "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions." House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn observed: "The sentiment of the caucus is moving toward impeachment. The American people have seen enough, and they are ready for us to do the job of impeaching this man."

In the meantime, Senate Republicans who declined an opportunity to evict Trump from office last year are rapidly showing their concerns as well — pledging to entertain whatever impeachment charges the House may send and, in the case of one prominent senator, demanding his immediate resignation. "I want him out. He has caused enough damage," says Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. "He’s either been golfing or he's been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president."

I feel sad, but committed to doing my job and protecting our democracy. The president must be held accountable for what he did, pure and simple. A different person wouldn’t have caused it or would understand the deep harm he caused and resign rather than continue to put this country through the hate and fear that continues to divide us.

But he is who he is. Those in his immediate circle who could do something are reporting he has definitely been out of control the last few weeks and are as worried as we are about what damage might be caused. Many of them have become the target of his volatile, erratic, unstable behavior. But they do not appear to be willing to take the critical steps necessary.

I fear the division

I don’t sleep well because I fear the division in this country and those who are angry and believe his lies. One of my new Republican colleagues from Michigan, Peter Meijer [a Republican from Grand Rapids] observed yesterday:

"The Republican Party needs to own up for the lies and deceptions we've been telling some of our supporters [about election fraud]. We need to come to grips with that. I hope that a more honest conversation -- I hope that some of the disingenuous, duplicitous and deceptive rhetoric that folks have latched on to try to feel better about what happened -- I hope they realize the utter cowardice of that approach.

"I would not be surprised if we saw in the near term political assassinations or some type of additional attempts to take lives by the folks who feel emboldened by what’s happened. I hope that's not the case."

We have witnessed a peaceful and orderly transfer of power between presidential administrations for 224 years. The events that unfolded on Jan. 6 represent a stark, dangerous and sad departure from this precedent, and it will forever be remembered as a dark day in our nation's history.

The United States Capitol is the people's house, and the hatred that ensued within its corridors was deeply disturbing to witness first-hand.

Peaceful protests are a pillar of democracy and a hallmark of American governance, but destruction crosses the line. Violence and vitriol are not a part of democracy. There are so many ways to disagree and be upset, but violence and destruction are never the answer. Those who wreaked havoc and caused mayhem must be held accountable.

So we will do our jobs, aware of the enormous responsibilities we have.

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