By Texas Metro News Team
When the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday [January 13th] to impeach President Donald J. Trump on charges he incited last week’s storming of the Capitol that left five people dead, some local residents applauded the decision.
One religious leader lauded House members for their difficult vote saying, he was “glad Congress decided to have some moral courage.”
Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church said the move to hold the president accountable was a necessary one.
“When Jan. 6 happened we (Blacks) were not surprised,” he said. “We know how White supremacy can be downright violent. We are asking for this country to come to terms with history that feeds the present so we will stop with the naive notion that ‘This is who we are’.”
On the contrary, to not have held President Trump responsible for last week’s insurrection at the Capitol would have threatened U.S. democracy, Rev. Haynes said.
“I think it would have set a dangerous precedent going forward if someone in the highest office of the land, who has already been the most corrupt president in the history of this country, as far as I’m concerned, was able to stoke a sedition and to have there be no consequences.”
Deborah Peoples, chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party and a candidate for Fort Worth mayor, said the assault on the Capitol was so unbelievable and brutal that House representatives had no choice but to act.
“No one should have lost their lives and the trauma that those individuals suffered will be felt for years to come,” she said.
Members of the House of Representatives, including 10 Republicans and all Democrats, voted 232 to 197 in favor of a resolution citing President Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors” associated with his role in the insurrection.
Last Wednesday, hundreds of rioters, some armed, forced their way into the Capitol building, which was closed to the public, overtaking a woefully undermanned Capitol Police force in one of the worst breaches of security in US history.
The rioters broke windows, defaced furniture and office name plates of Congress members. Many of the protestors forced their way onto the House floor where debate had begun regarding the Electoral College confirmation of the November 2020 presidential election.
Prior to their breaking into the Capitol, protestors gathered and listened to President Trump during a rally elsewhere across the District of Columbia.
The president told the protestors to “fight like hell” and to march to the Capitol in protest of the November Presidential election. The President has repeatedly said the election included illegal votes and had been unfairly “stolen” from him.
DeSoto City Councilwoman Kay Brown-Patrick said it was at President Trump’s urgence of the protestors to “fight like hell” that incited the insurrection.
“It was a blatant display of attack on the rule of order,” she said, adding that the Commander-in-Chief’s language, verbiage and refusal to denounce the actions of the rioters that created a hostile environment among the insurgents.
“Pressure bursts pipes,” she said.
After bursting their way into the Capitol, rioters took over some empty Congressional offices.
One rioter took selfies of himself with his foot on the office desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Social media images captured the rioter saying he had taken mail off the House Speaker’s desk.
In the end, one Capitol police officer lay dead after he was trampled, dragged and beaten during the melee. Two officers committed suicide in the days after the insurgence as images of the security breach were broadcast around the world.
A California woman who was dressed in military gear died after she was shot by a Capitol police officer when she and other rioters banged against a doorway that officers had blockaded.
Texas State Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas, also blamed the President for the violent protests.
“Last week’s planned insurrection against the United States is the culmination of irrational, violent rhetoric from an increasingly desperate man,” said Rose who was recently elected first vice-chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.
Wednesday’s vote is the first time in history that a president has been impeached twice.
On Dec. 18, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump on two charges, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in relation to a telephone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Janis McHenry, President, TRI-CITIES Unit, NAACP, welcomed the second impeachment.
“I’m happy to see him impeached again. However, our democracy is still threatened if the Senate does not proceed to convict him. Donald Trump and his supporters will not go away. We can’t afford to hold our breath for another four years.”
All North Texas Congressional Democrats voted in favor of the resolution to impeach the President. All Republican representatives voted against it.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, who had earlier expressed frustration over last week’s riot, said he never thought he would have had the”unprecedented role of voting to impeach a sitting president two different times.”
However, he said, the president’s behavior called for swift action to immediately remove Donald Trump from the nation’s highest office.
“Last week, Donald Trump instigated a violent insurrection against America while my colleagues and I convened to do our Constitutional duty of certifying the states’ results of the Electoral College for the next president of the United States,” he said. “His incitement of a violent mob of his supporters resulted in multiple deaths, put countless lives at risk and led to the desecration of the hallowed halls of our United States Capitol building.
He called President Trump “an absolute threat to our democracy.”
“That is why I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues to hold this president accountable for his dangerous actions by impeaching him today,” he said in a written statement. “History will look back on this moment to see who stood with democracy and who did not. I implore Republicans in the Senate to put partisanship aside and vote on this article of impeachment immediately. The future of ‘We the people’ and our democracy cannot wait another second.”
The U.S. Senate now will consider the single charge against President Trump and will schedule a trial, although it was unclear Wednesday when that trial would be held.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he does not expect to hold a trial before the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
Texas Democrats called for Texas’s Congressional leadership to set aside party politics and, regardless of whether the president is sitting, should hold a trial.
“Now, (U.S. Sens.) John Cornyn, R-San Antonio, Ted Cruz, R-Houston, and the United States Senate must review the evidence and act according to the Constitution. Partisanship must be pushed aside and our elected officials must put the rule of law above all else,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. “Trump is a clear and present danger to our country, and the Senate should conduct this impeachment trial expeditiously and remove him from office immediately.
June Jenkins, president of the Collin County NAACP, agreed.
“I think it’s important to ensure that he can’t run again. If charges aren’t brought against him, he will try to run again. I think he’s a danger to our country. When it comes to our Constitution, what he did last week was a violation. He did not protect the people of this country. His words were intentional and incited the riots that occurred afterwards. It was domestic terrorism. If it were (former President) Barack Obama, it would not have taken seven days to get to this day.”
Some community residents said Wednesday’s impeachment could offer a restoral of hope in government and begin a nationwide renewal among citizens,
“The impeachment of President Trump was necessary for America to start the healing process and unify as a country,” said Shaunte Allen, the Place 5, City Council Member in Glenn Heights.
“Five people are dead and hundreds injured from the horrific riot he incited on last Wednesday. My prayers are with those families,” she said. “I am hopeful that the Senate will prosecute and indict him for the crimes he has committed. It has been four years too long.”
Deyana Wilson, 20, and co-founder of the Hurst-based Coalition for Equity Development, said she is encouraged by Wednesday’s Congressional vote impeaching President Trump.“After helplessly watching President Trump get elected into office four years ago and watching the country slip backwards instead of forward in regards to racism, I, and many of my peers, were determined to make our voices be heard by protesting and successfully voting him out,” said Wilson, a student at the University of North Texas who majors in jazz studies.
“To have him voted out and impeached gives me hope,” Wilson said, adding that she did not vote for Trump.
“Although we have a long way to go to heal our country this is a really big step. It sets an example that no one is above the law, not even the president, just as our Founding Fathers wanted it to be. Hopefully, he pays for his crimes against his own supporters and the damage he has done on American democracy.” said Wilson, who is involved in the BLM work and cast her first vote for U.S. President in 2020.
Texas Metro News Staff Writers Ashley Moss, Marva Sneed, Jirah Mickle, Eva Coleman and Valerie Fields Hill contributed to this report.