Politics

The Boston City Council unanimously supports removing Trump from office

"We've got to seek justice. We've got to hold folks accountable."

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The Boston City Council joined the calls to remove President Donald Trump from office following the violent insurrection staged by his supporters on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., last week.

Councilors unanimously adopted a resolution on Wednesday stating that Trump should be removed from the White House and condemning the mob that stormed the halls of Congress — a clash that left five people dead.

“The insurrection on January 6th was not only instigated by President Trump, but also by several GOP senators and representatives who continued to spread false rhetoric about the November 2020 presidential election being rigged and voter fraud conspiracy theories, despite being denied in multiple federal courts across the country,” the resolution reads.

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The measure, sponsored by Council President Kim Janey and councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Lydia Edwards, also adds, “As elected officials, we are expected to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and its democratic processes. We must hold individuals accountable when they fail to keep that oath, starting with the immediate removal of Donald J. Trump from the office of President.”

The council’s move came just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump a second time in his presidency, charging him with “incitement of insurrection.”

“I was stunned to see what was happening at our nation’s Capitol — stunned, shocked, even, but not surprised,” Janey said. “For weeks, we saw Trump embolden his followers and co-conspirators to be violent and divisive on different platforms and social media, and to encourage the supporters of his to block the certification of President-elect (Joe) Biden’s win. It was not only Trump, but several Senate and House Republicans were complicit in this. It must be held accountable.”

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Several Massachusetts lawmakers were quick to call for Trump’s removal following the siege, including Mayor Marty Walsh.

“I absolutely believe that the president should be removed from office (for) what his actions were,” Walsh said last week, a day after the mob attack.

The mayor and other leaders around the country encouraged Vice President Michael Pence and Trump’s cabinet to act on the 25th Amendment to oust Trump. But Pence informed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday he has no plans to do so in the waning days of Trump’s term.

Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell also declined to launch the Senate’s impeachment trial of Trump this week. Lawmakers are now considering how they can simultaneously try Trump as Biden takes office next week.

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Here’s what else the City Council said while adopting the resolution:

(Statements have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)

City Council President Kim Janey

“I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the reaction that we saw last Wednesday looked very different than what we saw over the summer, when protesters were were demanding justice. And it’s very unfortunate that we are still living in a time where we see these stark differences.

“This was a threat to our democracy. And that threat is still alive. We have to protect our democracy, we have to ensure that our electoral process, that our Constitution, that that is protected — that is fundamental to who we are as a nation. And while I know we all support free speech, we know that this was a violent insurrection, where the president told his supporters to stay strong, to fight, told them to go to the Capitol. This is the nation that we are living in. And we’ve got to get to a place where there is true healing. And so we’ve got to seek justice. We’ve got to hold folks accountable. We have to support our colleagues in government in Washington, D.C., in the call for the removal of the occupant (of the White House).”

District 5 Councilor Ricardo Arroyo

“It’s difficult to contextualize the moment we find ourselves in today. I think like many, the images from the Capital will remain with me forever. The thoughts of what this country is currently experiencing — though something that could have been speculated on and I think certainly was — was not something that I think anybody honestly, truly expected to become as real today as it is. And so, you know, I never thought that I would say that the sitting president of the United States of America is a threat to our democracy, and a threat to our public safety, and our national security.

“And yet, I find myself in a position today to do that. And it’s for those reasons, it’s for what has been done and what could still be done, that I am calling upon, and why I’m part of this resolution, calling for the removal of President Donald Trump. He’s disgraced that office, he’s disgraced this country, and what he’s done will be a permanent stain on the history of our nation. And it is my hope, my sincerest hope, that those who have the power to act  do it in that frame of mind. We have the power to do this. And so that’s what I hope we do.”

District 1 Councilor Lydia Edwards

“We’re simply asking that the government, (the) federal government follow its rules. It seems like the 25th Amendment may not be an option. But therefore, impeachment proceedings are a way of which to remove the president. And this is reason why I’m standing up for this resolution that I encourage the federal government to impeach and to ultimately remove Donald Trump from the office of the presidency of the United States.

“This is also a solidarity move for our former sister and service counselor, or excuse me, Congresswoman Ayanna Presley, who I believe has faced a ridiculous amount of threats to her personal safety since the day she took office, and it only increased and has been only flamed by the president of the United States. And to hear her accounting and to know what fear was placed upon her and any other member of Congress, but especially because she is ours, makes me extremely angry. But also, we are Boston, and we stick by our own. And to be very frank, one of ours was threatened in D.C. And I believe without a doubt because of the president’s election, and that his encouragement.

“Now I’m sitting here supporting this resolution simply because I, I also think that we need to stand up and call a thing a thing. We need to say when someone had tried to threaten the United States, created treason, and threatening one of our friends, that we need to stand up and say we do not support that and think you need to stand down, and you stand back and get the heck out of the office. We as a nation had already said we are no longer going to continue him as a president. He has decided he and his incredible maturity won’t even attend the inauguration, is checked out. He is no longer wanting to do the job. People are dying of COVID. He is no longer leading. But most importantly, he is happily enabling the destruction and safety of our country.”

District 2 Councilor Ed Flynn

“Several years ago when Trump was campaigning for president he he made fun of a gentleman I think it was a reporter that had cerebral palsy [Note: the reporter has a condition known as arthrogryposis], made fun of him at a campaign rally. But for someone to make fun of a person with a disability would, in my opinion, would disqualify that person, from any position in elected office, never mind the presidency.

“And when I think of the harsh treatment he had against, he has against immigrants, I still think of the way the Irish immigrants were treated when they came over. And now there’s a new group of immigrants that are here with us and just the disdain that he has for all immigrants really, in my opinion, disqualifies someone for elected office as well.

“And then finally, … I know, he’s from a different political party, but Sen. (John) McCain — to make fun of his or to degrade his military service after being shot down and serving as a prisoner of war for six to seven years, to make fun of and discredit his military service, especially for someone that never served in the military, is disdainful as well and something that really, really bothers me.”

District 8 Kenzie Bok

“I just want to join in condemning the president’s actions on the sixth. And to say that I think that he should be impeached and convicted. And it should happen today. It should have happened last week.

“I was seized by fear on the sixth. Councilor Edwards has already spoken to our Congresswoman Ayanna Presley who was in harm’s way, many members of our delegation. I have a lot of friends who are congressional staffers. They don’t make much money, they try to serve the people of this country. There’s a lot of people who are janitors in that building, as we saw, who are Capitol Police officers who are just going about their day, trying to serve this country. And, you know, politics is the way that we handle our disagreements instead of violence. That’s really the whole activity here is that we know we don’t always agree on things, we’ve got big decisions to make, we’ve got big challenges to face, and we figure out how to have elections and debates and deliberations to deal with how we’re going to make those decisions. And when a president crosses that line into violence, because the appropriate procedures and systems of the democracy are not resulting in what he wants, that is a complete undermining of every aspect of our institutions.

“I want to, in the strongest terms, … say that I hope that he is impeached and convicted. I think the idea that he directed a violent mob, at a co-equal branch of government, is a breathtakingly awful thing.”

Read the full resolution:

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