Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-D) acknowledged that by charging President Donald Trump with incitement of insurrection, Democrats seek to prevent him from trying to become president again. The Texas Democrat also promised that House impeachment managers were prepared to chase every Senate vote in pursuit of a successful conviction.
“We will make sure that every senator is standing up for this country, that every senator is considering the evidence against President Trump and the fact that he incited a deadly insurrection. And so we’re optimistic that when we lay out our case — we’ll be able to convince folks that, in fact, President Trump is responsible for inciting this deadly insurrection and that the Senate should convict,” Castro told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.
“The reason for that is that somebody who incited a riot, an attempted coup of the United States government, should not be president again,” he continued. “So it’s not just about making sure that there are consequences to his behavior. Certainly, it’s that, but even after he’s left office, it’s also making sure that he can’t run for president again.”
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) named Rep. Castro as one of nine impeachment managers shortly before Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach the president for inciting a deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. The House of Representatives voted by 232 to 197 to impeach the president for ‘incitement of insurrection’. Led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-D), the lawmakers will serve as prosecutors in the impeachment trial in the Senate.
Castro acknowledged the “high bar” for impeachment, requiring a two-thirds majority in the Senate and 67 votes. Pelosi has declined to say when she will send the impeachment article to the Senate. Castro was similarly elusive, stating “we’ll be ready to go when it starts.” The Senate returns to session on Tuesday, and there is a possibility that the Senate could begin Trump’s impeachment trial on Biden’s Inauguration Day.
In the interview, Castro attempted to quell doubts raised by Members of Congress and legal scholars about the constitutionality of convicting a president who has already left office. He affirmed that the impeachment process was intended to prevent the possibility of President Trump being able to run for federal office again.
“The reason for that is that somebody who incited a riot, an attempted coup of the United States government should not be president again. So it’s not just about making sure that there are consequences to his behavior.”
Other Republicans contend that impeaching the president would be a violation of the First Amendment. Castro responded to these claims by arguing that the president’s incitement of violence superseded any arguments of free-speech violations.