Wenstrup Statement on Impeachment: Don’t Further Divide the Country

Washington, January 13, 2021 Contact:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) issued the following statement after voting against an article of impeachment against the President:

“President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States after running on a promise of uniting the country. Putting the country through another impeachment process in the last week of the President’s term in office will only further divide us. Public officials across the political spectrum need to collectively lower the temperature of our nation. We would best serve our constituents and the country by ensuring an orderly and peaceful transfer of power, rather than forcing through the House a rushed and inherently political impeachment.

“Democratic leadership has stated they may delay transmitting the article of impeachment to the Senate for up to 100 days, and the Senate has already stated they cannot take up an impeachment trial until after President-elect Biden has been sworn in. Impeachment is a grave power; it must not be exercised in haste.

“Investigations into the tragic events of January 6th are still ongoing. The facts of the day have not been fully uncovered. However, it is already clear that many came to Washington, D.C., prepared for violence before any words were spoken at the morning rally. It would be prudent to wait for all of the facts to come to light if we are to properly evaluate the gravity of the situation. If Members of Congress want to build a serious and credible case against President Trump, they should wait until we have a complete, factual understanding of what transpired. Given these concerns and limitations, I cannot support this impeachment that is markedly short of due process.

“In the wake of these events, our nation – all of us – must take a deep breath and do some soul searching. Every individual American needs to take a long look in the mirror and examine what we say, how we say it, and the actions we take.

“Last Wednesday’s extremely egregious events did not happen in a vacuum. Our country has seen escalating political violence in recent years, and individuals are responsible for the actions they take. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to that political violence, having survived the politically-motivated shooting by a far-left extremist inspired by Bernie Sanders on a baseball field four years ago. I chose then to not – and still do not – hold Senator Sanders responsible.

“Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own actions. I said that then, I said that during the riots of the past summer, and I say that again now.

“Nobody should be encouraging or excusing violent riots of any sort, whether they gripped our cities last summer or infiltrated our Capitol last week. We cannot continue to say things like, ‘You create a crowd. And you push back on them’; ‘you have to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa, BLM’; and, ‘People do what they do.’ Our words matter, and we cannot give encouragement or acceptance of violent behavior.

“President Trump’s actions and words during the violence last Wednesday were inappropriate. He failed to quickly and unequivocally condemn the violence wrought upon the Capitol, which was bravely defended by our selfless Capitol Police Officers. Today, the President’s legacy is already entrenched in the minds of every American, as is the legacy of all those who have called for or committed violence in America.

“The course we are on today will only cause more division rather than the unity we need. I will continue to work toward a more perfect union with peace, prosperity, liberty, and justice for all.”