DI Statement on The Senate Impeachment Vote

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Donald Trump: And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Billy Bush: Whatever you want.
Donald Trump: Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything.

President Donald Trump: I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president ...
McConnell Senate: Whatever you want.

A broken, dysfunctional United States Senate, under the leadership of “grim reaper” Mitch McConnell, is telling Donald Trump they will not check his presidential power — power he and his White House see as absolute and accountable to no one. Just like Billy Bush on the Access Hollywood tape, today the US Senate is telling Donald Trump: when you’re president, you can do whatever you want.

The right of all Americans to have a voice in government decisions is the essence of our democracy and it is what we at Democracy Initiative fight for every day. There is little argument against the basic facts of the case: President Trump openly asked a foreign government to interfere in our 2020 elections. For this, he was impeached by the House. But in Mitch McConnell’s broken Senate, they rigged the trial, refusing to allow witnesses so the American people could see for themselves and have the facts to make their own decision about Trump’s behavior. Now, despite a number of Republican Senators having called it “improper” “inappropriate” and “wrong,” all but Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) voted to ensure that POTUS will face no consequences for this betrayal.

Our democracy is based on a system of checks and balances designed to protect the people, not politicians and presidents. This is one more instance of how the power of the people is under daily assault, leaving our government in the clutches of behemoth corporate interests who put profits before people and exploit their workers. They have stolen our government to make it work only for them.

But the people are rising up. Over the last few years, a democracy movement of millions of hardworking people across the country have been taking collective action and fighting back. Democracy reforms to fight voter suppression and blunt corporate influence in elections have passed in states and localities across the country. The US House last year passed, the For the People Act (HR 1,) the most far-reaching political reform in a generation. That bill is languishing in McConnell’s legislative graveyard along with numerous other House-passed policies addressing climate change, immigration, gun control and prescription drugs — to the delight of powerful corporations.

Government by the privileged elite should not be the law of the land. Today, we the people have the opportunity to ramp up a collective effort to make our voices heard. We are ready to have those tough community discussions about ensuring clean air, clean water, family wage, equal education, affordable healthcare, a fair justice system, and a Senate that passes policy. Let’s join together now to get our country back on track so that in 2021 the people can govern. The first step is ramping up voter engagement in 2020. Democracy Initiative partners have set the bar high, challenging ourselves to reach 75% participation. The stakes are too high to do any less. We have won tough fights before — like the Voting Rights Act and LGBTQ marriage equality — when these same forces blocked our path. We can do it again.

Media inquires; Jennifer Lamson, 206-369-3122, jlamson@democracyinitiative.org.

Launched in 2013, the Democracy Initiative is a coalition of 72 civil rights, environmental, labor, and civic organizations, representing 45 million members, working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.