Not one Republican staffers joined the nearly 400 Democratic Capitol Hill staffers posted an open letter to the Senate today urging the upper chamber to convict President Donald J. Trump in his Senate trial scheduled to begin Feb. 9.
“We are staff who work for members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is our honor and privilege to serve our country and our fellow Americans,” the letter began. “We write this letter to share our own views and experiences, not the views of our employers. But on January 6, 2021, our workplace was attacked by a violent mob trying to stop the electoral college vote count.”
Nicholas Fandos wrote in The New York Times that the letter had been circulating on Capitol Hill for a few days and that the paper had been privy to the letter before its release.
While he hyped the “starkly personal letter,” Fandos buried the lede: Not one of the staffers working for a Republican congressman or senator signed the letter.
This includes staffers for the 10 Republican congressmen, led by Wyoming’s Rep. Elizabeth L. “Liz” Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump. Cheney is the daughter of Vice President Richard B. “Dick” Cheney and the chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Cheney’s statement against Trump was quoted repeatedly by House Democrats during the floor debate before the impeachment vote and her vote set off a revolt on Capitol Hill and back home.
On Capitol Hill, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Andrew S. “Andy” Biggs (R.-Ariz.) is circulating his petition among House Republicans demanding Cheney be removed from her post leading the conference. The founding chairman of the caucus, Rep. James D. “Jim” Jordan (R.-Ohio) has said more than 100 House Republicans have signed the petition to oust Cheney.
Back in the Cowboy State, Shelly Horn, started a Change.org petition demanding Cheney’s recall. It now has more than 58,000 signatures.
In addition to the recall petition, Cheney faces a strong 2022 GOP primary challenge from state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who is also the founder of Wyoming Gun Owners and a small businessman.
Fandos wrote that before the letter was released, unnamed organizers reached out to GOP staffers and offered to soften the letter’s language to entice them to join the effort, but none took the bait.
Trump is on trial on the single charge of inciting insurrection in connection with the mob that overwhelmed Capitol Hill police officers and created horrific mayhem and chaos, while Trump was still speaking to a large rally between the White House’s South Lawn and the Washington Monument.
The Democratic staffers wrote that the then-president was fully responsible for the mob breaking through security, invading offices and for a time both the House and Senate floors.
“That mob was incited by former president Donald J. Trump and his political allies, some of whom we pass every day in the hallways at work,” they wrote.
“Many of us attended school in the post-Columbine-era and were trained to respond to active shooter situations in our classrooms,” they wrote. “As the mob smashed through Capitol Police barricades, broke doors and windows, and charged into the Capitol with body armor and weapons, many of us hid behind chairs and under desks or barricaded ourselves in offices. Others watched on TV and frantically tried to reach bosses and colleagues as they fled for their lives.”
It is hard to overstate the power and influence exercised by Capitol Hill staffers through their day-to-day management of their bosses’ schedules, briefing materials and interaction with constituents, but at least these staffers acknowleged that were boxing above their weight-class.
“As Congressional employees, we don’t have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our Senators do. And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again,” they wrote.
Another blow to the letter’s potential impact was the lack of senior Democratic staffers signing the letter.
The highest-ranking staffer on the letter is Drew Hammill, who is deputy chief of staff for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.).
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Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based national political reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. In addition to the Star Newspaper, he has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and national politics for One America News, Breitbart, Human Events and Townhall. Before coming to Washington, he was a staff reporter for Boston’s Catholic paper, The Pilot, and the editor of two Boston-area community papers, The Somerville News and The Alewife. McCabe is a public affairs NCO in the Army Reserve and he deployed for 15 months to Iraq as a combat historian.