There was deep silence on the floor of the House as the hammer struck Wednesday announcing the second impeachment of US President Donald Trump.
With hands clasped atop a lectern on which the results of the historic chamber vote rested, President Nancy Pelosi announced the charges, making Trump the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, this time for “incitement to insurrection” against the Capitol.
During the sober signing of the document, the mood was a far cry from Trump’s first impeachment, when Pelosi signed the document with several pens, handing them out to elected Democrats with a smile.
As if to mark the solemnity of the occasion, Pelosi, known for her shiny suits, opted for the same dark outfit she wore for Trump’s first impeachment on December 18, 2019 – a look just as, if not more, worthy of ‘a burial.
The 45th president, she told her colleagues, had incited “insurgency” and “armed rebellion” during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Trump, she stressed, “must go, he poses a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.”
The violence left five people dead and shook the nation at its heart.
It was in the same room, exactly a week before, that lawmakers were forced to take cover, lying on the floor as pro-Trump protesters tried to force their way through barricaded doors.
Seven days later, the scene was much quieter but still remarkably abnormal: a perceptible silence permeated the generally bustling marbled hallways, where statues and paintings evoke the historic past of the nation.
Armed members of the National Guard were ubiquitous, having spent the night on the ground in the building’s famous central rotunda and elsewhere in its halls.
In addition to their indoor patrol, there was a massive outdoor presence on and around the Capitol grounds, where armored vehicles and concrete barriers framed the large area surrounding “the people’s house,” as the building is known.
The coronavirus pandemic has only added an additional unusual element, with fewer lawmakers gathered upstairs in the house and the usual wave of building activity stifled long before the attack.
In the front row, when Pelosi announced the results of the vote, Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester stood solemn alongside other elected officials. During the siege, she prayed aloud as she took refuge in the gallery on the floor of the House, as armed guards tried to prevent Trump supporters from entering.
The terrifying memory of that day had stuck in the air during Wednesday’s debates, but did not stop biting exchanges and even boos from punctuating the moving speeches of lawmakers, as most supporters and Democrats Trump followers hit their heads.
– Blame game –
When Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida, a staunch ally of Trump, told the House that “the left in America has instigated much more political violence than the right,” lawmakers heard shouting voices, a rarity in the Bedroom.
He concluded with a reference to the anti-racism and police violence protests that have rocked the United States in recent months, first accusing Democrats of stoking the rebellion: “Some have cited the metaphor that the president has lit the flame. Well, they lit real flames. Real fires, “he told the House.
Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri also elicited an audible response from her colleagues when she called Trump a “white supremacist president, who instigated a white supremacist insurgency.”
Pro-Trump freshman Georgian Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke with a mask bearing the words “censored.”
In the corridors, congressional assistants, the Capitol police, cafeteria employees and journalists exchanged knowing looks, tacit thanks for the ordeal they had just experienced.
“There is nothing pleasant or frivolous about the gravity of what is happening. We are still living in the aftermath of the insurgency against our government and against this Capitol,” Democrat Adam Schiff, who led the first Democrats’ impeachment proceeding against Trump.
“But I have a very strong belief that this is the right medicine … we are at a crossroads, and we can push the country on the right track,” the California lawmaker said.
(This story was not edited by The Bharat Express News on Social Platforms.)