Feb 02, 2021
Hundreds of congressional staffers in recent days have signed an open letter recounting the trauma of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and imploring senators to vote to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting the deadly insurrection.
"As congressional employees, we don't have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our senators do."
"On January 6, 2021, our workplace was attacked by a violent mob trying to stop the electoral college vote count," the staffers wrote. "That mob was incited by... Trump and his political allies, some of whom we pass every day in the hallways at work."
Many of us attended school in the post-Columbine era and were trained to respond to active shooter situations in our classrooms. As the mob smashed through Capitol Police barricades, broke doors and windows, and charged into the Capitol with body armor and weapons, many of us hid behind chairs and under desks or barricaded ourselves in offices. Others watched on TV and frantically tried to reach bosses and colleagues as they fled for their lives... Six people died. A Capitol Police officer--one of our co-workers who guards and greets us every day--was beaten to death.
"The attack on our workplace was inspired by lies told by the former president and others about the results of the election in a baseless, months-long effort to reject votes lawfully cast by the American people," the staffers wrote. "The use of violence and lies to overturn an election is not worthy of debate. Either you stand with the republic or against it."
"As congressional employees, we don't have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our senators do," they concluded. "And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again."
As of Wednesday morning, 360 House and Senate staffers had signed the letter.
\u201cMy first job out of college was as a Congessional Aide. I can only imagine these staffers\u2019 horror watching Jan 6th unfold. This is an open letter from Congressional staffers to the Senate, asking them to convict Trump.\u201d— Dr. Kathie Allen #OvereducatedWoman (@Dr. Kathie Allen #OvereducatedWoman) 1612368956
\u201c"On January 6, 2021, our workplace was attacked by a violent mob. That mob was incited by Trump and his political allies, some of whom we pass every day in the hallways at work."\n\nWe stand in solidarity with Congressional staff https://t.co/4BnWXzqxFO\u201d— Working Families Party \ud83d\udc3a (@Working Families Party \ud83d\udc3a) 1612364596
The actions of congressional staffers have been told in the harrowing stories of lawmakers fleeing for their lives or hiding in silence during the terror of January 6.
"I remember [Ocasio-Cortez] saying to me, 'I knew I shouldn't have worn heels, how am I going to run?'" said Porter. "And we went and we found her a pair of sneakers to wear from one of my staffers so that she could run if she needed to literally run for her life."
In her latest Instagram Live video, Ocasio-Cortez said that a staffer she called "G"--legislative director Geraldo Bonilla-Chavez--told her to run and hide in a bathroom before helping Porter's staffers barricade the California congresswoman's office door "like all of those drills people had on school shootings."
"I thought I was going to die," said Ocasio-Cortez.
On Tuesday, House impeachment managers filed a trial memorandum laying out their case for convicting Trump for "incitement of insurrection against the republic he swore to protect." The Democratic managers said Trump "summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue."
Oral arguments in Trump's Senate impeachment trial are set to commence on February 9. Conviction is highly unlikely; last week 45 Republican senators voted to invalidate the trial as "unconstitutional," and in addition to all 50 Democratic senators, 17 Republicans would also need find Trump guilty of incitement.
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