The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Nancy Pelosi: McConnell and the GOP Senate are accomplices to Trump’s wrongdoing

(Brian Stauffer/for The Washington Post)

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, is speaker of the House of Representatives.

For more than 200 years, our republic has endured, not only because of the wisdom of our Founders and the brilliance of our Constitution, but because of the generations of patriotic Americans who have had the courage to risk their lives to defend it.

But, tragically, the American people have watched President Trump and Republicans in Congress dismantle the Constitution that we cherish.

The House impeachment managers, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), presented to the Senate and the public an incontrovertible truth that the president himself has admitted: President Trump abused the power of his office to pressure a foreign power to help him cheat in an American election. And when he was caught, the president launched an unprecedented coverup to block Congress from holding him accountable. The president’s actions undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections and violated the Constitution.

Trump impeachment live updates

Pundits and reporters who lament this erosion in decorum are wildly missing the point, says Post opinion writer Greg Sargent. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The Democrats in the Senate under the leadership of Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) patriotically voted unanimously to honor the oath to support and defend the Constitution. They, along with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), deserve our gratitude for their moral courage.

The president’s lawyers all but concede his misconduct. Their argument was only that Congress and the American people have no right to stop him from using his power to cheat in our elections. With their vote, Senate Republicans embraced this darkest vision of power: that if the president believes his reelection is good for the country, he can then use any means necessary to win, with no accountability or consequences.

For weeks, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Republican-controlled Senate have made themselves accomplices to the president’s wrongdoing by suppressing additional evidence and rejecting the most basic elements of a fair judicial process. In declaring their loyalty to the president over our Constitution, Republicans have made a farce of the old boast that the U.S. Senate is the greatest deliberative body in the world. And they have joined the president in normalizing lawlessness and rejecting the checks and balances of our Constitution.

The House of Representatives voted to impeach the president because our institution believes in the sanctity of our oath and the urgency of protecting our republic. One chamber of Congress held the president accountable. President Trump is impeached forever, disgraced in history for his abuse of power and contempt for our Constitution. He will go down in history as the first president to be impeached with the support of a majority of Americans, and the first to ever face a bipartisan vote to convict him in the Senate.

Our Founders put safeguards in the Constitution to protect against a rogue president. They never imagined that they would at the same time have a rogue leader in the Senate who would cowardly abandon his duty to uphold the Constitution.

Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the president remains an ongoing threat to American democracy. He continues to insist that he is above accountability and that he can corrupt the elections again, if he wants to.

The People’s House will continue to defend democracy for the American people. We will uphold and protect the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution, both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion to preserve our republic “if we can keep it,” to quote Benjamin Franklin.

And we will always insist on this truth: that, in America, no one is above the law.

Read more:

Read a letter in response to this piece: The government needs new leaders

Dana Milbank: This vulgar man has squandered our decency

Greg Sargent: Here’s a new abuse of power by Trump that should alarm you

Jonathan Turley: Mitt Romney is exactly what the Framers wanted in a senator

Catherine Rampell: Worried Trump might weaponize the presidency? He already has, many times.

The latest commentary on the Trump impeachment

Looking for more Trump impeachment coverage following the president’s acquittal?

See Dana Milbank’s Impeachment Diary: Find all the entries in our columnist’s feature.

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Read the most recent take from the Editorial Board: It’s not over. Congress must continue to hold Trump accountable.

The House impeachment managers weigh in in an op-ed: Trump won’t be vindicated. The Senate won’t be, either.

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