'Donald Trump is a national security threat': Underwood, other suburban reps vote to impeach
On the same day the U.S. House impeached President Donald Trump an unprecedented second time, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood on Wednesday called Trump "a clear and present danger" to the country and urged his removal from office after last week's violence at the Capitol.
"Donald Trump is a national security threat," Underwood, a Naperville Democrat, said in a phone call with the media. "Congress must take action."
Underwood was joined by members of the Illinois delegation on both sides of the political aisle in calling for impeachment.
"The future of our national security and democratic republic are today at stake," Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield, isolated at home with COVID-19, said in a news release.
Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Channahon, who has broken with his party to repeatedly criticize Trump in recent months, said the riot at the Capitol was the culmination of years of misinformation from the White House.
"What happened on Jan. 6 was an attempted insurrection," Kinzinger said in a phone call with reporters. "If this is not impeachable, short of a murder on national television by the president, I don't know what is."
Since he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden in November, Trump repeatedly lied about the election results and tried to subvert the results, actions that built anger among his followers.
And then, in a speech he gave during a rally the morning Congress convened to formally confirm Biden's win, Trump urged the crowd to march to the Capitol. It did and chaos erupted, leaving five people dead and many more injured.
In brief remarks on the House floor, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston said it is time "to hold the president accountable."
Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove also rose on the House floor in favor of impeachment, as did Democrats Mike Quigley of Chicago and Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, and other members of the Illinois delegation.
Krishnamoorthi talked about his immigrant parents' belief in the American dream and democracy, and Trump's efforts to besmirch those ideals.
"When Donald Trump told rioters to go to the Capitol and fight like hell, he incited an attack on the Capitol and the ideals comprising the American dream," Krishnamoorthi said. "I'm voting for impeachment because I know we're still the country my parents believed in, and I will fight like hell for it."
In a statement, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville said he voted to impeach because Trump "is unstable, dangerous, and unfit to be President."
Schneider said Trump's speech and his failure to intervene in the insurrection "will go down in history as the darkest day of the American presidency."
In her interview, Underwood called the deadly and destructive riot at the Capitol "an infuriating and un-American disgrace."
Underwood also blasted -- but didn't name -- members of the House and Senate who supported and encouraged the insurrection. She urged investigations into the actions of such lawmakers, as well as their arrests, convictions and removal from office.
"There should be no historical sanctuary for those who ignited this fire," Underwood said.