WASHINGTON,D.C. -- U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) released the following statement after voting to convict former President Donald Trump:
“Today, I voted to convict President Donald J. Trump for inciting an insurrection against the United States. The proceedings of this trial made clear that President Trump spurred a violent attack on Congress and then betrayed his duty as Commander-in-Chief by failing to deploy the National Guard to aid the Capitol Police and save American lives.
"President Trump’s clear and stated motive was to overthrow a free and fair election in a desperate attempt to cling to power. For weeks, he used malicious lies and conspiracy theories to foment anger and mobilized his supporters to descend on Washington in a last-ditch effort to ‘stop the steal.’ Then, on January 6th, as Congress gathered to carry out our constitutional duty, he rallied his angry mob to fight on his behalf and stop the certification of the election results.
"Our nation paid a heavy price for the lies President Trump spread so freely. Seven people lost their lives, including a Capitol Police officer from New Jersey; scores suffered serious injuries and many will carry unseen scars with them for years. We also learned that the President’s mob came perilously close to harming Vice President Pence and his family and members of the House and Senate, and that extraordinary heroism by law enforcement prevented more tragedy.
"The House impeachment managers also made abundantly clear that President Trump could have quickly acted to save lives and defend the Capitol, but instead spent hours basking in the chaos unfolding in his name. I cannot think of any higher betrayal of our Constitution and dereliction of duty by a Commander-in-Chief than refusing to act to save American lives.
"President Trump’s behavior was unforgivable, and his own lawyers failed to mount any compelling defense. All we heard from his team were dangerous arguments that, if indulged by the Senate, would give every future outgoing President permission to use their final weeks in office to commit gross abuses of power without accountability.
"To vote for conviction and disqualification from serving should not have been a difficult decision for any member of the Senate, of any party.
“I am dismayed that so many Senate Republicans chose to put the fleeting politics of the moment ahead of their sworn oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. In private, they complain about feeling trapped by President Trump’s poisonous grip on the Republican Party and yet refused to free themselves by voting to bar him from running for future office. This is pure political cowardice and I fear their refusal to hold Donald Trump accountable will have lasting negative and even dangerous consequences for the future of our country.”
September 16, 2021
September 15, 2021