Rep. Steve Scalise called for a round of applause from the House on Wednesday for the Capitol Police officers who defended the US Capitol exactly one week ago from a mob of rioters as the chamber prepared to vote on impeaching President Trump.
Scalise, who was seriously wounded in a shooting at a congressional softball practice in June 2017, said, “I’ve seen the dark evil of political violence firsthand. And it needs to stop.”
Remarking how emotions are still hot after last Wednesday’s mayhem at the Capitol that sent lawmakers running for cover, Scalise said, “We need to be focused on toning down the rhetoric and helping heal this nation” as President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in Jan. 20.
“My prayers, Madam Speaker, are still with Capitol Police officer Sicknick, who we lost, as well as all of the Capitol Police officers who risked their lives to keep us safe. They are true heroes, and they deserve all of our applause today,” he said as the House members paused their debate to hail the officers.”
Scalise, the minority whip in the House, said impeaching Trump without a full hearing will result in more division and noted that the Senate will not even take it up until after the president is out of office.
“So let’s keep that in mind, it will only serve to further divide a nation that is calling out for healing,” Scalise said.
He reminded the chamber of President Abraham Lincoln’s words in his second inaugural address in March 1865.
“This is what he said, ‘With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all, which may achieve and cherish, a just and lasting peace among ourselves. And with all our nations.’ “
Scalise and Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland offered their parties’ closing pro and con arguments on impeaching Trump after more than three hours of debate.
Hoyer dismissed arguments from Republicans that impeachment was rash coming so soon to the president leaving office and would result in further dividing the country.
“This vote is not about timing,” he said. “It is about principle and fidelity to our Constitution.”
“It concerns the clear and present danger facing our country, not only in these final days of the Trump administration, but in the weeks, months, and years that will follow. It is about the necessity to demonstrate to this generation, and to future generations, the duty we share to protect our democracy, every single day,” he said.
Hoyer said it was clear that Trump would follow George Washington’s lead and surrender his power for the “good of our Republic.”
“Somebody talked about a peaceful transition. There has not been a peaceful transition. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Yeah, you’re not living in the same country I am,” he said.
“So I ask this House, who among us, Madam Speaker, will be recorded on the role of history for their courage, their commitment, the Constitution, and their country? We do this today not for politics. We don’t need this for politics.” he said.