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370 Congressional Aides Sign Letter Imploring the Senate To Convict Donald Trump

These staffers witnessed the violent siege on the Capitol firsthand.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins Tuesday for his role in inciting the violent riot at the Capitol on January 6. In advance of the trial, 370 Democratic congressional aides have signed a letter urging senators to convict Trump. It’s an unusual move, as staffers rarely comment on upcoming votes or issue public appeals. But, of course, this is hardly an ordinary situation.

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In the month since the violent attack, we’ve heard stories from senators, representatives, Capitol police, and staffers about the fear, panic, and chaos that engulfed the Capitol during the riot that claimed 6 lives and injured nearly 140 Capitol Police officers. As Republicans rush to ignore the failed insurrection and demand to move on with disingenuous calls for “unity,” hundreds of people are still struggling to recover, both physically and emotionally, from the attack.

In their passionate letter, the staffers wrote of the attack, “That mob was incited by former President Donald J. Trump and his political allies, some of whom we pass every day in the hallways at work.”

They continued,

“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 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.”

The letter goes on to say, “Our Constitution only works when we believe in it and defend it … Any person who doesn’t share these beliefs has no place representing the American people, now or in the future. 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 wrote. “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.”

The letter organizers reached out to Republican aides to sign, but none did. An anonymous staffer told CNN, “No one should have to experience something like this in their place of work … And I think it’s important to tell this part of the story, because it’s not just members of Congress who come to work at the Capitol every day. And it’s not just staffers who work at the Capitol who were traumatized by what happened. And I think that is a piece of it. The trauma is there; the trauma is very real. And anytime that new pieces of information come out, you know, you’re kind of re-traumatized.”

I honestly hope that everyone who was inside the Capitol that day has access to counseling and post-traumatic care. And I hope that all the republican trolls dismissing their pain and trauma never get to hold office again.

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in her Instagram Live, “The reason I say this and the reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize. These are the same tactics of abusers.”

(via New York Times, featured image: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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