Two progressive congresswomen long targeted by right-wing death threats on Wednesday said their Republicans colleagues who reportedly support impeaching President Donald Trump but fear the potential consequences of doing so must find the courage to fulfill their oath of office.
"Many of them rode the wave of this violent rhetoric, or at the very least sat idly by it. Now is our chance to stop it."
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
The calls for courage came from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who have repeatedly spoken out about relentless attacks that they've endured—particularly from Trump and his supporters—since entering Congress as half of the original "Squad" in 2019.
"The president has directly incited serious death threats against me," Omar tweeted Wednesday. "These are the tools demagogues use to keep us afraid. We cannot be fearful in fulfilling our oath of office. Courage is being scared to death, but remaining resolute. Its important that we remove this tyrant."
Noting the "repeated attempts on our lives" that she along with other lawmakers and their families have encountered, Ocasio-Cortez said of the fearful Republicans in Congress that "it's a privilege if this is their first time. They can do one vote."
"Many of them rode the wave of this violent rhetoric, or at the very least sat idly by it. Now is our chance to stop it," she added. "This is what we are sent to Congress to do—the tough stuff. All the easy choices are taken. If any GOP need advice on how to deal with it, they can call me."
Many of them rode the wave of this violent rhetoric, or at the very least sat idly by it. Now is our chance to stop it.
This is what we are sent to Congress to do - the tough stuff. All the easy choices are taken. If any GOP need advice on how to deal with it, they can call me.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 13, 2021
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Ocasio-Cortez and Omar's comments came as members of the U.S. House debated impeaching Trump on Wednesday. The congresswomen were responding to tweets from Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta confirming Rep. Jason Crow's (D-Colo.) revelation on MSNBC that some GOP members "are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment."
"Crow is right," according to Alberta. "Numerous House [Republicans] have received death threats in the past week, and I know for a fact several members *want* to impeach but fear casting that vote could get them or their families murdered. Not spinning or covering for anyone. Just stating the chilling reality."
Alberta also pointed out that since Trump launched his campaign for president, he "has stirred constant threats of violence against immigrants, journalists, Democratic lawmakers and others"—as demonstrated by members of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol last week targeting reporters who were covering the chaos.
And yes: Trump’s rhetoric the last 5 years has stirred constant threats of violence against immigrants, journalists, Democratic lawmakers and others. Republicans are not the only ones being terrorized here. All the more reason for Americans to band together and say never again.
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) January 13, 2021
"Republicans are not the only ones being terrorized here," Alberta concluded. "All the more reason for Americans to band together and say never again."
While an unprecedented second impeachment of Trump seemed all but certain on Wednesday, multiple reports indicated that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)—a "fascist-enabling coward," according to one critic—won't reconvene the Senate for a trial before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20.
Although the Senate is set to return a day before Biden's inauguration, the GOP majority leader has previously suggested that there won't be time for a conviction vote. News of his refusal to reconvene followed reporting that McConnell privately supports impeaching the president for inciting last week's Capitol takeover.
Amid uncertainty over the Senate's next steps, concerns are mounting over the security of the Capitol, Biden's swearing-in ceremony, and statehouses given that the FBI on Monday warned law enforcement agencies nationwide that armed insurrections are being planned for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in the come days.