CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker is calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached for inciting an attempted coup after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
The day saw Trump supporters violently force their way past Capitol police, break into the Capitol building and desecrate the historical building while lawmakers were trying to sign off on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Federal lawmakers, aides and reporters had to hide and shelter while rioters stole from offices and broke into Senate chambers.
Four people died during the chaos, including a woman shot by an officer, and 14 officers were injured, D.C. police officials said. The district was put under a 6 p.m. curfew and the National Guard was called in.
Trump’s actions amounted to “high treason,” said Pritzker, a frequent critic — and target — of the president.
The attempted coup temporarily halted senators and representatives as they were trying to certify Biden as the 46th president, but they returned hours later to finish the job.
“As the heart of our democracy was under siege and blood was literally being spilled in our most sacred halls, Donald Trump was praising the attackers,” Pritzker said in a Wednesday statement. “There are real questions about what efforts the President made to protect our Congress or what obstructions he committed that has prevented the ending of the siege.
“There is no doubt in my mind that his efforts to encourage a coup represent high treason to this democracy, our Constitution and all Americans. He poses a danger to our nation. He must be impeached and removed from office immediately. And every person in a position of public trust, elected or otherwise, who enabled the systematic dismantling of our democratic norms and failed to speak up or take action bears some responsibility for the culmination of four years of spreading bile.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not go as far in a statement released Wednesday, but she heavily criticized Trump, saying he incited the violence.
“President Trump and his enablers incited this violence,” Lightfoot wrote on Twitter. “Shame on every elected official in Congress and elsewhere who fomented this anti-democratic insurrection by extremists. This is not democracy. This is a disgrace.”
The riot came after weeks of Trump falsely insisting the election was stolen. The president had urged people to come to the Capitol on Wednesday; and earlier that same day, he spoke to a rally of supporters, urging them to march to Capitol Hill and falsely claiming he’d join them.
“We’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” Trump said. “And we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
In Illinois and nationally, lawmakers have said Trump incited the violence. They’ve called for him to be impeached or removed through the 25th Amendment.
During the chaos, Trump tweeted, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!”
But the president then issued a video in which he still falsely insisted the election was stolen. In the video, he said he loved the people storming the Capitol and called them “special.”
Trump’s posts were removed from social media platforms and his accounts temporarily blocked.
It wasn’t until Thursday morning that Trump, speaking through a statement, said there’d be an “orderly transition” of power to Biden. Even then, he continued his false claims about the election, saying he “disagree[s] with the outcome … and the facts bear me out.”
“This violence is the natural conclusion of Donald Trump’s efforts to unleash the forces of hate and divide our nation,” Pritzker said. “It must end.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.