NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A day after his vote against impeaching President Donald Trump, GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise discussed his vote, political rhetoric, and new threats of violent protests.
Scalise spoke on the House floor before Wednesday’s vote on the Article of Impeachment Democrats crafted against Trump over the Capitol Siege.
“I oppose this rushed impeachment brought forth without a single hearing,” said Scalise.
Scalise, who is number two in the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives was asked during a lengthy interview with FOX 8 about his vote. While he said during his speech in the House that impeachment would further divide the country he did not say if he thought Trump should be impeached over the acts outlined in the resolution.
During the interview with FOX 8, Scalise was asked if he thought Trump committed impeachable offenses.
“Well, first of all, you know, what I said is they haven’t even had a hearing on this and then they want to do yet another impeachment. Right now, the president is going to be leaving office in a week, a week from today he will be gone from office, Joe Biden will be the president,” he said.
Then when asked again he went further.
“Look, I’ve stated that I was not happy that the president did not give an unequivocal denunciation of what happened last week, he actually just did that last night but that in and of itself is not an impeachable offense. You know, clearly what happened at the capitol was, was a violent, anarchistic attack on our democracy, and everybody that was in that building needs to be held accountable and many already have been arrested,” said Scalise.
He was also asked whether he feels he, or other members of the Congress bear responsibility for what happened at the U.S. Capitol last week for furthering the unsubstantiated narrative of Trump about a stolen or unfair election despite numerous court rulings saying otherwise. Also, former Attorney General Bill Barr along with Republican elections officials said there is no proof of widespread election fraud.
“First of all, I have always been very vocal that violence is not an answer to any disputes; we have political disputes all the time. We don’t settle them through violence and by the way I’ve called it out not only when it’s come from Republicans, I’ve called it out when it’s come from Democrats, too,” said Scalise. “One of the things that I’ve been vocal about recently is that some of the Democrats who are vocal today were silent during the summer when people were burning down cities and small businesses were being destroyed
, in fact, some of my Democrat colleagues were encouraging that sort of behavior get in their faces.”
Critics say leaders in the Republican Party should have called out Trump the day he told protesters to march to the Capitol and to ‘show strength’.
Scalise was asked about that.
“I actually did, in fact, have, I think probably a week ago was on national television saying that the president should have been unequivocal in denouncing that activity that day and he wasn’t, and it was disturbing that he wasn’t and I’ve talked to people in the White House that he needed to be more vocal, you know, he since has but that day he should have been,” he said.
Scalise is concerned about the new threats of violent protests the FBI has warned of but says he plans to attend Biden’s inauguration at the U.S. Capitol next week.
“You know the threats are real, we saw that last week. It’s concerning when you see some of the things that are out there on social media. I was at the Capitol just yesterday and you can see the increased presence, there are national guard troops everywhere and that’s going to be the case through the inauguration at least, you know, we need to have a safe and secure inauguration and have that transfer of power and it will,” said Scalise.
He also believes there will be areas he can work with Biden, like getting more vaccines to Americans.
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