Feb 11, 2021
Rep. Ted Lieu Speech Transcript February 11: Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial
Rep. Ted Lieu gave a speech arguing why the Senate should vote to convict Trump during Trump’s second impeachment hearing on February 11, 2021. He said Donald Trump “showed no remorse and took no accountability” after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Read the full transcript of his remarks here.
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Ted Lieu: (00:00)
Good afternoon. My colleagues walked you through president Trump’s actions leading up to January 6 and then the horrific events on January 6. And we saw both during their attack as well as in the days after the attack that this was a president who showed no remorse and took no accountability. In fact, quite the opposite. As Representative Raskin showed you, President Trump claimed that his actions were, “Totally appropriate.” The assertion that everyone thought Donald Trump’s actions were totally appropriate, including people in this room, is of course untrue. It is also dangerous. And that’s why members of Congress and US senators, former and current administration officials, state and local officials, all unequivocally confirmed what we witnessed with our own eyes that Donald Trump’s conduct was wrong, it was destructive, dishonorable and un-American. President Trump’s lack of remorse and refusal to take accountability during the attack shows his state of mind.
Ted Lieu: (01:17)
It shows that he intended the events of January 6 to happen. And when it did, he delighted in it. President Trump’s lack of remorse and refusal to take accountability after the attack poses its own unique and continuing danger. It sends the message that it is acceptable to incite a violent insurrection to overthrow the will of the people and that a president of the United States can do that and get away with it. That is why we have to hold President Trump accountable. To send the message that it is never a patriotic to incite a violent attack against our nation’s Capitol and that future presidents will know that they cannot follow in Donald Trump’s footsteps and get away with it. So let’s start with the day of the attack. On insurrection day, January 6, President Trump did not once condemn the attack, not even once. Even when he finally asked the violent extremists to go home, which was three hours after attack began, he sends this video and he ends it with, “You’re very special. We love you.”
Ted Lieu: (02:44)
That was his message to people who perpetrated this violent, gruesome attack. “We love you.” And then two hours later, he tweets, “Remember this day forever.” This is not a man who showed remorse. But it’s worse than that. After that tweet, it took another full day to even condemn the attack itself. The very next day, President Trump was eerily silent. And then at 7:01 PM, he releases a prerecorded video. And there, President Trump for the first time, nearly 30 hours after attack began, acknowledges and condemns the violence and mayhem that occurred. He said that demonstrators defiled the seed of American democracy. He said that these demonstrators didn’t represent this country and if they broke the law, they would pay. But even in that video, he says more lies. He says in that very same video that he immediately deploy the National Guard. That again is not true.
Ted Lieu: (04:02)
The National Guard was not deployed until over two hours after attack began at around 3:00 PM. Because of this late deployment, The National Guard did not arrive until after 5:00 PM. And when the Guard was deployed, the Pentagon had released a statement that showed the list of people, and you saw that list of folks, that were consulted before deploying The National Guard. Several people were on that list, including the Vice President. President Trump was not on that list. And as a veteran, I find it deeply dishonorable that our Commander in Chief did not protect us and then later he tries to take credit for something he failed to do. Shameful. Also in that video, you should note what it did not say. Absent from that entire video was any actual acceptance of responsibility for his actions. Absent from that video was a call to his most fervent supporters to never do this again. And here was his final message in that so-called condemnation of attack video. Here’s what he actually said.
Donald Trump: (05:22)
And to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed. But I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.
Ted Lieu: (05:35)
President Trump not only failed to show remorse or take accountability, he made clear he is just beginning. For days, he did not address the nation after this attack. We needed our Commander in Chief to lead, to unite a grieving country, to comfort us. But what did President Trump do? Nothing. Silence. We’re all aware that a violent mob murdered a police officer. It took President Trump three days before he lowered the flag of the United States of America. Three days. And President Trump, who was Commander in Chief at the time, did not attend and pay respects to the officer who lay in state in the very building that he died defending. Now, some people have argued that President Trump made a mistake, that he gets a mulligan.
Ted Lieu: (06:44)
But we know president Trump didn’t make a mistake. Because you see, when you or I make a mistake and something very bad happens, we would show remorse. We would accept responsibility. President Trump didn’t do any of that. Why not? Because he intended what happened on January 6. And how do we know that? He told us. On January 12th, as President Trump was boarding Air Force One to head to Texas, and you saw this video before, and I’m going to show it again, he was asked by a reporter, “What is your role in what happened at the Capitol? What is your personal responsibility?” And this was his response.
Donald Trump: (07:30)
But they’ve analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody, to the T, thought it was totally appropriate.
Ted Lieu: (07:42)
On January 12th, President Trump had seen the violent tack on the Capitol. He knew that people that died. And his message to all of us was that his conduct was totally appropriate. I’m a former prosecutor, and we’re trained to recognize lack of remorse. But it doesn’t take a prosecutor to understand that President Trump was not showing remorse. He was showing defiance. He was telling us that he would do this again, that he could do this again, that he and future presidents can run for national election, lose an election, inflame the supporters for months, and then incite an insurrection, and that that would be totally appropriate. One week after the attack, on January 13th, President Trump, in response to continuing bipartisan criticism, releases and another video. Here’s part of what he said. “I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemned the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.” President Trump, of course, had to make that statement.
Ted Lieu: (09:01)
He needed to unequivocally condemn the attack, but he also needed to mean those words. You saw Donald Trump tweet endless attacks, sometimes 108 tweets in a day, and in public speeches and across rallies, repeating words of fight and stop the steal and never surrender. You know what it looks like when President Trump wants to convey a message. Forcefully, loudly and repeatedly, he does that. This video sent after a week of the attack was not that. And we know this because in this video, he again does not show remorse, does not take responsibility. He again, does not acknowledge his role in the insurrection. He does not say in that video, for example, “Everything I said in the months prior went too far”. And he does not say the one sentence that matters. He does not say the one sentence that would stop future political violence. “The election was not stolen.” He still hasn’t said that sentence. That is why National Guard troops in full body armor still patrol outside.
Ted Lieu: (10:17)
Reports from the White House also confirm that President Trump believed he was, “Forced by the bi-partisan [inaudible 00:10:26] after the insurrection to acknowledge the new administration.” We know he did not stand behind his belated condemnation because those around him confirmed it. And behind closed doors, sources confirmed that President Trump still refused to directly acknowledge his election loss to Joe Biden and refused to even attend the peaceful transition of power, the first president in modern history. President Trump even reportedly while watching the impeachment vote, “Focused his ire on the Republicans who voted for his impeachment, peppering aides with questions about what he could do to exact revenge.” President Trump has made clear that if he is not held accountable, he will not be accountable.
Ted Lieu: (11:17)
He will not stop. Now President Trump would have his base and the world believe that his conduct was totally appropriate. It is important to impeach that falsehood to make clear to his supporters and everyone watching that what Donald Trump did was not acceptable. In fact, quite the opposite. People in his own party, state officials, former officials, current officials, members of Congress, have all unambiguously and passionately said that what Donald Trump did was, “Disgraceful, shameful.” And had called his behavior existential and wrong. And they said that his actions gave rise to one of the darkest chapters in United States history. Let’s hear what some of these officials had to say. Here are Governors Spencer Cox, Charlie Baker, Mike DeWine, Larry Hogan, and Phil Scott.
Spencer Cox: (12:28)
People have to be held accountable. And yes, that includes the President.
Charlie Baker: (12:31)
It’s important to remember that there were the combination of months of President Trump repeating over and over again that the American electoral system is a fraud. After he stoked the flames of outrage for weeks leading up to the events of yesterday, he refused to adequately prepare the US Capitol for the possibility of violence and left it nearly defenseless. His remarks during and after the travesty of the attack on the Capitol were disgraceful.
Mike DeWine: (13:03)
President Trump’s continued refusal to accept the election results without producing credible evidence of a rigged election has started a fire that has threatened to burn down our democracy. This incendiary speech yesterday, the one he gave proceeding the March that he gave to the protestors, served only to fan those flames.
Larry Hogan: (13:32)
I proudly stood by my father’s side at age 12 on the floor of the House chamber as we both took the oath of office, an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States. It’s clear to me that President Trump has abandoned this sacred oath.
Phil Scott: (14:00)
Seeing our Capitol, a symbol of democracy around the world, stormed by an angry mob was heartbreaking. And let me be clear, these actions were not patriotic and these people are not Patriots. The fact that these flames of hate and insurrection were lit by the President of the United States will be remembered as one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history.
Ted Lieu: (14:31)
One of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history. Former members of the Trump administration, longstanding Republicans, also made clear that President Trump incited this insurrection and it went against our democracy. The president’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis declared that, “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.” Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also spoke on this as well. And I’d like to play an audio clip of what he said.
John Kelly: (15:12)
What happened on Capitol Hill yesterday is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds.
Ted Lieu: (15:23)
If you couldn’t hear that, what John Kelly said about President Trump was that what happened on Capitol Hill was a direct result of him poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the fraud. Former Speaker of the House John Bayner declared that, “The invasion of our Capitol by a mob, incited by lies from some entrusted with power, is a disgrace to all who sacrificed to build our Republic.” This was echoed by former Trump official after former Trump official. Here is where former National Security Advisors John Bolton and H. R. McMaster, former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah, and former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said.
Speaker 9: (16:12)
Let me just ask you, do you think President Trump has blood on his hands?
John Bolton: (16:17)
I think he does. Look, I agree with Bill Barr. I think he did incite this mob with the clear intention of having them disrupt the electoral college certification and delay it to give him more time. I don’t think there’s any question about it.
H. R. McMaster: (16:32)
There are many reasons for this assault on the Capitol, but foremost among them was the President’s exhortations, was the President’s sustained disinformation. We’ve seen a president stoking fears amidst these crises.
Alyssa Farah: (16:45)
First and foremost, I want to say that what happened at the Capitol was unacceptable, un-American, undemocratic.
Mick Mulvaney: (16:52)
I think everybody recognizes that what happened on Wednesday is different. You could go down the long litany of things that people complained about with Donald Trump and I could probably defend almost all of the. Many of them were policy differences, many of them were stylistic differences. But Wednesday was different. Wednesday was existential. Wednesday is one of those things that struck to the very heart of what it means to be an American, and it was wrong.
Ted Lieu: (17:21)
Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s former Chief of Staff, is clearly saying what we all felt. That January 6 was different. It was existential. It was wrong. It was un-American. And this sentiment was echoed not just from people outside the administration, but from people inside the Trump administration. Perhaps most telling was the flood of resignations from people inside President Trump’s administration with firsthand access to President Trump. His own officials felt so betrayed by his conduct that numerous officials resigned in protest days before the end of President Trump’s term. 16 officials resigned in protest. 16. They all took this dramatic action of resigning because they saw the clear link between President Trump’s conduct and the violent insurrection. Here’s some of what they said. Secretary DeVos, who was in the administration the entire term, told President Trump in her resignation letter that, “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is an inflection point for me.”
Ted Lieu: (18:48)
Secretary Chao, who was in the administration their entire term, explained, “Yesterday, our country experience a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed. As I’m sure as a case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way I simply cannot set aside.” Deputy Costello told his associates the attack was his, “Breaking point,” and he hoped, “A wake-up call.” These rebukes and resignations from President Trump’s own administration make clear that President Trump’s conduct was anything but totally appropriate. They also remind us that this can and must be a wake-up call. As representative Fred Upton so eloquently put it, “President Trump expressed no regrets for last week’s violent insurrection at the US Capitol. This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the constitution. It is time to say enough is enough.”
Ted Lieu: (20:06)
Now, no one is saying here that President Trump cannot contest the election. Of course, he can. But what President Trump did, as his former Chief of Staff explained, was different. It was dishonorable, it was un-American and it resulted in fatalities. President Trump’s spent months inflaming his supporters, spread lies to insight a violent attack on our Capitol, on our law enforcement, and on all of us. And then he lied again to his base to tell them that this was all okay, that this was all acceptable. And that is why President Trump is so dangerous, because he would have all of us, all Americans believe that any president who comes after him can do exactly the same thing. That’s why lack of remorse is an important factor in impeachment because impeachment, conviction and disqualification is not just about the past, it’s about the future. It’s making sure that no future official, no future president does the same exact thing President Trump does. President Trump’s lack for more shows that he will undoubtedly cause future harm if allowed because he still refuses to account for his previous high grave crime against our government.
Ted Lieu: (21:37)
I’m not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years, I’m afraid he’s going to run again and lose because he can do this again. We’re in an unusual situation because despite President Trump’s claim that everyone thinks what he did was fine, so many have come out and spoken so strongly and passionately about what happened here. I’d like to highlight a statement by representative Anthony Gonzales. He said, “The Vice President and both chambers of Congress had their lives put in grave danger as a result of the President’s actions and the events leading up to and on January 6.
Ted Lieu: (22:20)
During the attack itself, the President abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present. These are fundamental threats not just to people’s lives, but to the very foundation of our Republic.” And now I’d like to show what members of Congress said leading up to the most bi-partisan impeachment vote in US history. Because I do want everyone watching, especially President Trump’s supporters, to see firsthand what I believe we all feel. That what President Trump did was not appropriate, that it was not American and that it absolutely can not stand.
Liz Cheney: (23:03)
What he has done and what he has caused here is something that we’ve never seen before in our history.
Adam Kinzinger: (23:09)
All indications are that the President has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself.
John Katko: (23:18)
The President’s role in this insurrection is undeniable, both on social media ahead of January 6 and in his speech that day. He deliberately promoted baseless theories, creating a combustible environment of misinformation and division. To allow the President of United States to incite this attack without consequences is a direct threat to the future of this democracy.
Ted Lieu: (23:43)
After this trial, I hope you’ll come together and cast your vote and make absolutely clear how we, as a Congress and as a nation, feel about what Donald Trump did by convicting him and prevent this from being only the beginning, as President Trump said, and to deter future presidents who do not like the outcome of a national election from believing they can follow in President Trump’s footsteps. It is what our constitutional oath requires, it is what our country deserves.
Speaker 18: (24:22)