EUGENE, Ore. – Ahead of day three of impeachment proceedings in Washington D.C., U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley held a press call to explain why he believes former President Donald Trump should be convicted of inciting the capitol insurrection in January.
The Oregon Democrat said the former president spread false claims of a stolen election and stoked anger among his supporters, culminating in a rally Merkley claims was held purposefully near the capitol and during a time when congress was certifying election results.
“When the gathering turned ugly, when they started to assault the lines, assault police officers, throw flags, use bear spray against officers, the president was monitoring the situation very closely and did nothing,” Merkley said.
Merkley said he hasn’t spoken with other Republican senators, but feels many are grappling with voting to convict the former president and also appealing to voters who still favor Trump.
“When domestic enemies physically assaulted the capitol, the president chose not to defend the government of the United States of America. To me, that’s an extraordinary breach of oath,” Merkley said.
President Trump’s defense begins its arguments before the senate on Friday.