John Katko must uphold his oath of office by voting to impeach Donald Trump this week.
The president lost his bid for reelection, badly, and is scrambling for alternative means of remaining in office. Simple fraud has not been working, so on Wednesday he incited an armed mob to commit an act of domestic terrorism designed to force Congress to overturn the will of the American people and install him as president despite his historic failure at the polls.
Donald Trump’s terrorists looted the Capitol. They ripped down the American flag and replaced it with fascist banners. They killed security officers who were protecting John Katko’s life.
This is abhorrent. This is disgusting. This is treasonous. This vile act demands the strongest possible response: prosecution of every one of those terrorists, expulsion of the members of the House and Senate who goaded them on, and impeachment—at the very least—of the demagogue and would-be dictator who caused the whole seditious disaster.
All John Katko can muster, though, is this tepid statement: “I can’t support him going forward and I don’t think the party will support him going forward”
No, you don’t have deja vu. That is basically exactly what our congressman said in 2016 after the Access Hollywood tape came out, and we all heard Donald Trump brag about sexually assaulting multiple women.
And what was that statement worth? Nothing. Not only because John Katko couldn’t find the courage to vote for Donald Trump’s opponent in that one election, but also because he has voted for Donald Trump at just about every opportunity since then. Over and over and over again he’s voted against our needs and for Donald Trump’s interests in Congress, and then when Donald Trump’s name was back on the ballot, John Katko broke his word and voted for him for president.
So when John Katko says that this time Donald Trump has gone too far, who can really believe him? Who can believe that the congressman actually believes that. Who would be so gullible when the man has already admitted that he won’t take any action that could prove it?
Unless John Katko actually does something—unless he actually votes to remove Donald Trump from office, unless he actually defends American democracy—we can’t believe him. His feckless record of lies, equivocations, sly winks to fascism, and coy nods to racism do not allow us to believe him.
John Katko is not the worst person in Congress. He has colleagues who are true believers, out-and-out conspiracy theorists, unrepentant Nazis, and priests in Donald Trump’s cult of personality. John Katko is not as insane as they are.
But it doesn’t really matter because he has not shown himself to have the the strength or the character to stand up to those dangerous lunatics or their maniac leader, Donald Trump.
This is a crisis, and we need more than stern expressions of disapproval. We need positive action to secure our government against the threats that have been allowed to grow so large and so threatening over the last four years. Our congressman must prove that he is equal to the moment by taking that action, removing Donald Trump from office, and barring him from ever holding it again.