PROVIDENCE — The state Senate on Tuesday voted for a resolution condemning “the acts of violence and insurrection” at the US Capitol last week and calling for the removal of President Donald J. Trump.
The resolution, sponsored by Senator Dawn Euer, a Newport Democrat, passed overwhelmingly in a voice vote. No roll call was taken, and no one spoke against the resolution during a meeting at Rhode Island College. There are 33 Democrats and five Republicans in the 38-member state Senate.
“As elected officials, we should defend democracy in the strongest terms,” Euer said in a statement. “The violence at our Capitol was aimed at preventing the resolution of a free and fair election, and it was incited by the president.”
Trump continues to lie about the presidential election results, she said. On Tuesday, he defended his remarks to pro-Trump protesters last week as “fully appropriate” and has showed no remorse for the attack on the Capitol that followed.
“He is attempting authoritarian rule and provoking mobs, and the danger that his deceit will lead to more violence is very real,” Euer said. “He needs to be removed from office before he does any further damage to our country.”
The resolution, which will be sent to the state’s congressional delegation, calls for removing Trump either through the 25th Amendment or impeachment. US Representative David N. Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, is already leading an attempt to impeach Trump.
The Senate holds voice votes, as opposed to roll call votes, on all resolutions, spokesman Greg Pare said, and he said he did not hear any votes against the resolution. All senators were present except for Senator Frank A. Ciccone III, a Providence Democrat.
Four senators spoke in favor of the resolution after Euer introduced it on Tuesday.
“We cannot see the violent attack on the Capitol last Wednesday as a spontaneous eruption of violence, I don’t believe,” said Senator Meghan E. Kallman, a Pawtucket Democrat. “It was the logical culmination of a months-long campaign waged by a sitting president and his allies both in Congress and the media to overturn the results of a free and fair election.”
Democrats in the US House of Representatives have filed an article of impeachment charging him with “incitement of insurrection,” Kallman noted. That article quotes examples of Trump’s lies and “inflammatory speeches” and his Jan. 2 call to Georgia’s secretary of state, demanding that he “find” enough votes to overturn that state’s election results.
“These two instances, which are but two among many, clearly show us that Mr. Trump is no longer capable of leading the country,” Kallman said. “These acts are seditious. They are treasonous.”
She noted that COVID-19 has now killed more than 375,000 Americans.
“And yet, during this time of global crisis, he has chosen to fan the flames of civil unrest instead of coordinating vaccine delivery,” Kallman said. “It’s a dark day in US democracy when we have to call for impeachment a second time, and yet to not do so, I believe, would be deeply irresponsible. We cannot let Mr. Trump’s lawless and anti-democratic attempts to remain in power go unanswered because doing so would invite more of the same.”
Senator Melissa Murray, a Woonsocket Democrat, urged passage of the resolution, saying, “Trump’s words were akin to shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded room. They fanned the flames of insurrection. They were not only seditious but destructive.”
Trump’s words led to chaos and violence that placed Vice President Mike Pence and both Republican and Democratic members of Congress in danger, Murray said. “He causes a clear and present danger right now and must be held accountable for his actions,” she said.
Representative Brandon C. Potter, a newly elected Cranston Democrat, has introduced the same resolution in the House, which is expected to take up the issue at its next meeting, on Jan. 19.
The resolution notes that Trump spoke at a rally on Jan. 6, calling for supporters to “fight like hell” and march to the US Capitol where the Congress was meeting to certify electoral votes.
“Incited by outright lies and misinformation, and driven by the misconception that their actions could encumber the true and just democratic process, the deadly mob assaulted police officers, scaled walls, and broke windows and doors as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol building,” the resolution states.
“What happened at the Capitol was nothing short of a violent assault on democracy itself,” Potter said in a statement, “and it happened because the president has tried every avenue he can think of to undermine the validity of the election results. There seems to be no limit to what he will do to try to cling to the power, including encouraging a mob that attacked Congress.”
He noted that five people died in the riot, saying, “Leaders across America should be demanding accountability from those who participated in this seditious act, starting with the person who incited it: Donald Trump.”
Potter also has called for the resignation of Representative Justin Price, a Richmond Republican who has said he marched to the Capitol but did not enter the building. On Twitter, Price has repeated the debunked conspiracy theory that Antifa was to blame for the riot.
Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.