Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was joined today at a press conference by committee Chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). Senator Schumer laid out the need for Senators to hold President Trump accountable through the impeachment trial and explained how Democrats will continue to work to provide the COVID-19 relief the American people need. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
First, I want to say a word on impeachment. The Senate has a solemn responsibility to try and hold Donald Trump accountable for the most serious charges, ever, ever levied against a president.
Those who say, “let's move on, that brings unity,” are false.
When you had such a serious invasion of the Capitol, incited by a
president who we know
, urged people, told people the election was false,
urged people to come to Washington, urged people to march on the Capitol.
The Senate has to find – is he guilty of inciting the violence that ensued?
When you have such a serious charge, sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity. It will keep the sore open, the wounds open. You need truth and accountability.
I believe the managers will present a very strong case. The evidence will be powerful. The evidence, some of it will be new. And I urge all my colleagues to pay careful attention to the evidence. I particularly urge my Republican colleagues, despite the pressure on them, to pay very real attention to the evidence here, because it's very, very serious.
Every senator, Democrat and Republican, has to approach this trial with the gravity it deserves. And that is really important for the future of this country.
A mob of white supremacists and insurrectionists and domestic terrorists falsely believe the election was stolen and tried to overthrow the government. And as I said, the trial is about whether the president, the man chiefly responsible for feeding the mob, with the lies that motivated their behavior, who told him to come to D.C., directed them at the Capitol, is guilty of inciting the violence.
Now, to why we're here.
You know, it was said a few weeks ago, in all the punditry and everywhere else, that the impeachment trial would throw a wrench into President Biden's early agenda.
We are here today to say we are not letting that happen. We can do both at once.
The defining challenge of our moment: we had to do three things when we gain the majority.
One, fill the president's cabinet. We are doing that. Last night, two nominees were approved. Late at night, the Deputy Secretary of Defense was approved by voice vote.
Second, run a fair impeachment trial. And, unlike the previous impeachment, Leader McConnell and I are introducing the resolution together. No one can claim it's not fair.
But third, and just as important, is deal with this awful COVID crisis.
To the pundits who said we can’t do both at once, we say you are wrong. We can and we are.
The bottom line is simple: the Senate is moving full steam ahead on a bold plan to get this country out of the crisis, to speed vaccination distribution, provide a lifeline to small businesses, help schools reopen safely, save the jobs of teachers, firefighters, and other public employees and so much more.
Our country has so suffered. Every one of us knows people that make our hearts ache, with what they're going through. I just saw a video of grandchildren saying goodbye to their grandparents. They couldn't see them, hug them, touch them.
We have to do everything we can to end this crisis, and even though the impeachment trial is an important and august responsibility, we are doing both and that's what my colleagues here are doing.
We are working with our House members. We are working with our committee members. We are working, when we can, with our Republican colleagues to produce a big, bold piece of legislation that will help us deal with, and get out of this awful, awful crisis.
We look forward to working with Republican colleagues to make this COVID package a reality – and you saw there were a number of bipartisan amendments. The first amendment that passed, a very important one to help restaurants, was authored by Senators Sinema and Wicker; one a Democrat, one a Republican.
But make no mistake – Senate Democrats will not do dither, dilute, or delay because the COVID responsibility is so real.