Citing “a clear pattern of willful disregard for our Constitution and its system of checks and balances,” U.S. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont said Thursday that he supports beginning impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
“I’ve been very reluctant to take this step,” Welch told reporters after returning from Washington on Thursday. “At a certain point, the responsibility that each of us has is to decide whether conduct that the President is engaging in is a violation of his oath of office. I’ve come to that conclusion.”
In his statement, he cited Trump’s “torrent of attacks on fellow citizens based on their race, gender, religion and ethnic origin,” as well as his efforts to “stonewall” oversight efforts by Congress.
Welch said President Trump’s recent tweets targeting progressive Democratic Congresswomen believed to be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tliab and Ilhan Omar factored into his decision.
“That really just put an exclamation point on what has been consistent behavior from when the President announced his candidacy,” Welch said. “It’s clear to me he’s made a decision, and it’s really regrettable, that in this campaign, he’s going to sow division.”
Welch’s announcement comes a day after the U.S. House rejected an attempt to impeach Trump for statements that members have condemned as racist.
Welch said Trump’s failure to honor his oath of office merits impeachment under the Constitution.
“Instead of strengthening the institutional pillars of our democracy, this president is methodically tearing them down,” Welch said. “He calls for the jailing of political opponents and pardons political allies.
“And at every turn, he demeans, attacks and discredits the free press, dangerously labeling it as the enemy of the people.”