Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability Following Conclusion of Donald Trump's Impeachment Trial in the Senate
February 13, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Impeachment Managers for a press availability following the conclusion of Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. It had not been my intention to come to this press availability, however tempting it would be to sing the praises of our House Managers on behalf, not only of the House of Representatives, on behalf of the American people. And I have to say, personally, on behalf of my grandchildren who drew great hope and inspiration from each and every one of you, we could not be prouder of your patriotic presentations, the clarity with which you presented and, again, the inspiration you have been to so many people, so I thank you for that.
When I see all of them, it reminds me that when we recruit candidates to run for office or we see them self-recruiting, we always say – they'll say, well, 'I could be the President of my university or I could be the head of my hospital department or this or that, so I have to think about whether I run for Congress.' We always say, 'We don't want anybody without options. That's why we're looking for you to run, because you have options. That shouldn't be a reason for you not to run.'
But what we saw in that Senate today was a cowardly group of Republicans who apparently have no options because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve. Imagine that it would be vandalized in so many bad ways that I won't even go into here, and that they would not respect their institution. That the President of the Senate, Mike Pence – 'Hang Mike Pence' was the chant and they just dismissed that. Why? Because maybe they can't get another job. What is so important about any one of us? What is so important about the political survival of any one of us that is more important than our Constitution that we take an oath to protect and defend?
But why I came over was because I listened to Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell, who when this distinguished group of House Managers were gathered on January 15th to deliver the Article of Impeachment could not – we're told it could not be received because Mitch McConnell had shut down the Senate and was going to keep it shut down until right, until the inauguration.
So for him to get up there and make this indictment against the President and then say but 'I can't, I can't vote for it because it's after the fact.' The fact that he established! The fact that he established that it could not be delivered before the inauguration.
Now, when you think about January 6th, between 6th and January 20th, you're only talking about just under two weeks, a day under two weeks. So, the big lie, 'Stop the steal,' the big lie that you talked about, 'Stop the steal,' was the momentum for getting these people there on the 6th. They honestly believed for whatever reason, maybe too much social media, whatever – watch '[The Social Dilemma],' that movie – why they were thinking that that was true, that their election was not legitimate, whatever the reason their President told. So, okay, so that's the 6th.
A week later we impeach in the House. Thank you to those of you who participated right away: Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu and David Cicilline. Where's David? David Cicilline. They were – they had it all written up and ready to go, bipartisanly passed the House. And then two days later, ready with the case to take to the Senate. 'Oh, we can't receive it.' Not a question – by the law you're supposed to receive it and the next day start the trial.
So, for Mitch McConnell, who created the situation where it could not have been heard before the 20th or even begun before the 20th in the Senate, to say all the things he said, oh, my gosh, about Donald Trump and how horrible he was and is, and then say, 'But the time that the House chose to bring it over' – no, we didn't choose. You chose not to receive it. So, I think that's really important.
And then again, it doesn't matter. As Jamie and others have told us, you can have the case after the person is out of office so it's an elementary discussion. The Senate rules in that way and honoring of precedent on this. It didn't matter except it was not the reason that he voted the way he did. It was the excuse that he used. And so that's why I think it's important because that was a very important speech.
I thought Chuck Schumer's speech was remarkable in laying it all out. I think he was inspired by all of you because you raised the level of all this to such a place of patriotism and knowledge of our country, our history and what we owe our children. Again, we always say: honoring the vision our Founders, worthy of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and respecting the aspirations of our children. They did all of that. And as Jamie – the distinguished Lead Manager said earlier on this presidential weekend, our sense of patriotism is stirred and we're called upon in a stronger way.
So, I want to thank them. I want to thank Stacey Plaskett. Thank you, Stacey. Thank you, Madeleine Dean. Thank you very much, Joe Neguse. Thank you, Eric Swalwell. Thank you, Diana DeGette. Thank you, David Cicilline. Thank you, Ted Lieu. Thank you, Joaquin Castro. Thank you very much, Mr. Lead Manager on all of this. We just couldn't be prouder.
I've been hearing from my grandchildren who are very sad that justice wasn't done. But by [fourteen] votes, the Senate voted to convict. A good bipartisan statement about what has happened. It would not have been accomplished without your brilliant presentation. So, I thank you for that. And I yield the Floor back to all of you as I leave.
Congressman Raskin. Madam Speaker, thank you for your confidence in us. I was going to go next to Scott. Were you going to take the next one, David?
Q: I'm curious though – for the Speaker, if she had a comment about Mitch McConnell's statement on the Floor suggestion that President Trump still was liable criminally or civilly for everything he did in office. Do you think now that the Justice Department or State Attorney General should pursue the legal –
Speaker Pelosi. He even hedged on that. Remember when he talked about incitement, he said he didn't think this rose to a level – I'm going to tell you. So, he was hedging all over the place. I don't know whether it was for donors or what. But whatever it was, it was a very disingenuous speech. And I say that regretfully because I always want to be able to work, work with the leadership of the other party. I think our country needs a strong Republican party. It's very important. And for him to have tried to have it every which way.
But we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again in terms of what we're doing to investigate and evaluate what caused this, both in terms of the motivation but also in terms of the security that we have to have as we go forward, recognizing how inflaming even some of our elected officials can be. But I defer to all of these distinguished lawyers about –
Congressman Raskin. Alright. Let's see.
Q: Speaker Pelosi, is censure an option right now?
Congressman Raskin. I'll come to you and then I'll come to you. I'm sorry.
Q: Is censure an option right now?
Speaker Pelosi. Censure is a slap in the face of the Constitution that gives – lets everybody off the hook. It lets everybody off the hook. Oh, these cowardly Senators who couldn't face up to what the President did and what was at stake for our country are now going to have a chance to give a slap on the wrist?
We censure people for using stationery for the wrong purpose. We don't censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the Capitol.
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