STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Local elected officials were quick to weigh in on the Senate’s decision to acquit former president Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Last month, House Democrats voted to charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection,” needing two-thirds of U.S. Senate to vote guilty in order to convict the former president.
The Senate’s vote, held on Saturday, fell 10 votes short of the required 67 votes need to convict Trump, with a final vote of 57-43.
Democrats argued that Trump had incited the violent attacks through repeated, baseless claims of a stolen election and by riling up his supporters during a Jan. 6 rally, encouraging them to “fight like hell” to overturn the results of the election.
Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers claimed that the rioters acted on their own volition and that the former President’s speech was protected under the First Amendment.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/South Brooklyn) weighed in on Twitter shortly after the decision came down, stating it was time to move past attempts to vilify Trump and look forward to improving the country.
Malliotakis later issued a statement referring to the second impeachment trial as a “political charade” and waste of tax payer dollars.
“Everyone agrees that the individuals who attacked the Capitol complex on January 6 should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, this unconstitutional impeachment trial, a second attempt to destroy President Trump, is nothing more than a political charade,” Malliotakis said.
“Let us move forward to address truly pressing issues ,like expanding access to the vaccine, restoring our economy and American jobs, reopening schools and bringing our supply chain home. There’s too much work to be done to spend another day on this partisan sham,” the congresswoman added.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) released a statement Saturday afternoon explaining her decision to vote in favor of convicting Trump, referring to the evidence against the former president as “irrefutable.”
“For months, President Trump laid the groundwork for the insurrection, actively promoting conspiracy theories about election fraud to his supporters. On January 6th, he incited violence against Congress and his own vice president. Finally, even as his violent supporters stormed the Capitol, causing untold destruction and several deaths, President Trump refused to take action to protect members of Congress, the vice president, Capitol Police and law enforcement officers, staff and those working in the Capitol,” Gillibrand said.
“As a United States senator, I swore an oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution. Today, I upheld that oath by voting to convict President Trump under charges of inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government. I thank the other senators, including seven of my Republican colleagues, who had the courage to do the same,” the senator added.
Immediately following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) spoke on the Senate floor, condemning his Republican colleagues for failing to convict Trump.
“The failure to convict Donald Trump will live as a vote of infamy in the history of the United States Senate,” Schumer said. “The former president tried to overturn the results of a legitimate election—and provoked an assault on our own government—and well over half of the Senate Republican conference decided to condone it.”
“The most despicable act that any president has ever committed and the majority of Republicans cannot summon the courage or the morality to condemn it,” he added.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.