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Here’s what you may have missed as the House debated impeachment

The US Capitol on Wednesday.
The US Capitol on Wednesday.Stefani Reynolds/Getty

During the House debate on an article of impeachment charging President Trump with inciting insurrection against the government, Democrats made their case for why Trump should face impeachment a second time, and many Republicans argued against it.

In a variety of floor speeches, there were all sorts of quotes worth highlighting on both sides of the aisle. Here are some you might have missed as the debate progressed:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi was among the first to speak as the House opened debate on the impeachment resolution Wednesday.

“We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s Capitol and attempted to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people. And we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

Republican Jim Jordan


Jordan defended the president as he railed against impeachment — and Twitter’s decision to suspend the president’s account.

“It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what. It’s an obsession. An obsession that’s now broadened. It’s not just impeachment anymore, it’s about canceling the president and anyone who disagrees with them. The ayatollah can tweet, the president can’t.”

Democrat Hakeem Jeffries

Jeffries invoked an infamous quote from Trump as he spoke in favor of impeachment, telling his fellow lawmakers “it is what it is.” It’s a reference to Trump’s response to a rising death toll from the coronavirus during an interview last September with Axios.

“Donald Trump is a living, breathing impeachable offense. It is what it is. He is a clear and present danger to the health, safety, and well-being of the American people.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The highest-ranking House Republican spoke out in favor of impeachment, but broke with some of his colleagues in placing blame for last week’s Capitol attack on President Trump.


“Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that. And conservatives should be the first to say so. ... Here is what a vote to impeach would do: it would further divide this nation. A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan division. ... The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, to accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure that President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”

Democrat Joaquin Castro

Castro cast his argument for impeachment in highly personal terms, imploring members of Congress to consider what could have happened if rioters were successful in reaching lawmakers.

“Donald Trump is the most dangerous man to occupy the oval office. I want to take you back one week ago today, when people were barging through these doors, breaking the windows with weapons, armed, pipe bombs, coming here to harm all of you, to harm the speaker, to harm the Senate. Let me ask you a question: what do you think they would have done if they had gotten in? What do you think they would have done to you? ... If inciting a deadly insurrection is not enough to get a president impeached, then what is?”


Republican Dan Newhouse

Newhouse was one of the few Republicans who spoke out in favor of impeachment Wednesday.

“These articles of impeachment are flawed but I will not use process as an excuse. There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions. The president took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Last week there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he does nothing to stop it. That is why, with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yet on these articles of impeachment.”

Democrat Cori Bush

Bush, a freshman member of Congress, urged lawmakers to consider impeachment as one step in a long process of confronting white supremacy.

“The 117th Congress must understand we have a mandate to legislate in defense of Black lives. The first step in that process is to root out white supremacy, starting with the white supremacist-in-chief.”

Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler

Herrera Beutler joined a handful of Republicans on Tuesday when she announced she would vote to impeach President Trump, saying she believed he violated his oath of office.

“I stand to say that the enemy is not the president or the president-elect. Fear is our enemy. It incites anger and violence and it haunts us into silence and inaction. … I’m not afraid of losing my job but I am afraid that my country will fail. I’m afraid patriots to this country have died in vain.”


Democrat Maxine Waters

While speaking on the House floor, Waters cited a report from the Washington Post that President Trump was “too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding” during the Capitol siege to act or respond to requests from Senate and House members to intervene.

“I rise in support of impeaching again the worst president in the history of the United States. Since his first day in office, he has spent four years lying, embracing authoritarianism, and radicalizing his supporters. … It is reported that the president of the United States watched the invasion from the Oval Office ... and seemingly enjoyed it. I want you to know we should be concerned that the Republicans will not defend him and he is capable of starting a civil war. He must be impeached. He must be stopped now.”

Republican Tom Cole

The Oklahoma representative argued another impeachment trial would further divide the country, with a Senate trial likely to continue into President-elect Joe Biden’s administration at a time when he will seek to unify.

“Certainly Jan. 6, 2021 will live in my memory as the darkest day in my term of service as a member of this House. We as a nation and institution have an opportunity to come together. President Trump has conceded the 2020 election. Congress has certified the results of the election. … The majority of the House is choosing to divide us further. With only a week to go, the majority is asking us to consider a resolution impeaching President Trump and do so knowing full well even if the House passes this resolution, the Senate will not consider these charges until President Trump’s term ends. This is going to further divide the American people in the action we are contemplating today.”


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.