Republican California Rep. Tom McClintock said Wednesday that there might not have been any Capitol riot if the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and antifa rioters had been prosecuted “with the same determination” as impeachment.
“If we had prosecuted BLM and antifa rioters across the country with the same determination these last six months, this incident may not have happened at all,” McClintock said in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, which is considering whether to impeach President Donald Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the one article of impeachment on Tuesday that accuses Trump of inciting insurrection. On Jan. 6, Trump supporters fought with Capitol Police and stormed the Capitol building, forcing members of Congress to seek safety while five people were killed in the riot. (RELATED: House Democrats Set To Introduce Articles Of Impeachment)
McClintock called impeachment “the most solemn and consequential act that Congress can take” next to declaring war but suggested it was not being used with discretion.
“To use it in this manner, in the heat of the moment, with no hearings, no due process, many members phoning in their votes after a hastily called debate, exactly one week before a new president is to take office, trivializes this power to the point of caricature.”
He noted that the Democratic Party now controls the House, Senate and presidency: “in a republic that calls for magnanimity by the victors, only in a banana republic does it call for vengeance.”
McClintock said making “intemperate” speech into a high crime and misdemeanor is a dangerous step. “The moment any member of this body gives an impassioned speech and a lunatic fringe of their movement takes license from it, be prepared to answer to this new precedent that we established today.”
He suggested he could find plenty of evidence of “provocative speeches made by Democrats that directly preceded violence this summer” as rioters and looters ransacked American cities.
The congressman urged his Congressional peers to remember the anguish of the Civil War and the words of President Abraham Lincoln, who “appealed to the better angels of our nature. He said, ‘with malice toward none, with charity for all, let us bind up the nation’s wounds.’”
“I cannot think of a more petty, vindictive and gratuitous act than to impeach an already defeated president a week before he is to leave office,” the congressman said, adding that this “unconstitutional act” makes a “mockery” out of President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to restore national unity. (RELATED: REPORT: McConnell Believes Trump Committed Impeachable Offenses)
More than a dozen House Republicans could vote to impeach Trump with Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney leading the way.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office confirmed Wednesday that the Senate will not reconvene until after Biden is inaugurated as the next president.