President Donald Trump’s term as president ends in 12 days, but for most Rochester Beacon readers, that’s not soon enough.
In a poll of Beacon readers, three-quarters of respondents said Trump should be removed from office—either by impeachment or by Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment.
The president’s conduct before and during Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob loyal to Trump has prompted calls to remove him from office immediately. The riot at the Capitol delayed but did not prevent Congress from confirming Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
“President Trump’s incitement of the horrific insurrection on our nation’s capital is reason enough for impeachment. Sedition must be met with clear and direct accountability,” says Sandra Frankel, former Democratic Brighton supervisor.
Bill Wynne also favors removing Trump from office immediately. “This country cannot wait until the 20th to remove this increasingly demented, deranged, traitorous person from office,” he believes.
There are two options to remove a president from office:
■ Impeachment – The House of Representatives can impeach a president, who then would face trial in the Senate; two-thirds of senators present must vote for removal from office. The power of impeachment also provides for a removed president to be disqualified from holding future office.
■ The 25th Amendment – The vice president, plus a majority of the Cabinet, can invoke this amendment if they believe the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. (For more on this path to removal, see this explanation.)
Short of removing Trump from office, Congress could censure him by majority vote.
Of the nearly 200 Beacon readers who took part in the poll, 44 percent said impeachment is the most appropriate response to Trump’s conduct before and during the assault the Capitol. Thirty-one percent favored removal under the 25th Amendment. Among those who do not want Trump removed from office before his term ends, 15 percent think he should be censured by Congress; 9 percent chose “none of the above.”
Joe Sayre was among those who oppose removing Trump from office: “The storming of the U.S. Capitol was a despicable act and the perpetrators need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I am against removal of President Trump from office because I’m extremely concerned that it would lead to more violence across the United States. It is time we as a country come together.”
Among the respondents, 83 percent said they voted for Biden in the 2020 election; 12 percent voted for Trump, and 5 percent did not vote. By contrast, in the certified results for Monroe County, Biden beat Trump by 59.4 percent versus 38.3 percent.
Biden voters who took part in the poll overwhelmingly want Trump removed from office, with nearly half favoring impeachment and more than one-third saying removal under the 25th Amendment was most appropriate.
Among Trump voters, 25 percent said the president should be removed from office, with 17 percent favoring impeachment. Fully half think he should neither be removed nor censured.
Respondents also were asked to share their thoughts on the storming of the U.S. Capitol. The following are the complete signed written responses of participants in the survey, conducted Jan. 7-8. Many additional unsigned responses were submitted. As a matter of policy, the Beacon does not post unsigned comments.
Please share your thoughts on the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Totally unacceptable. Undemocratic, and becoming of our country.
President Trump’s incitement of the horrific insurrection on our nation’s capital is reason enough for impeachment. Sedition must be met with clear and direct accountability. His attempt to overthrow the will of the American voters in the 2020 Presidential Election, and in particular his phone call to pressure election officials in Georgia to “find” the 11,000+ votes he needed to change the outcome shows his unpatriotic disdain for the rule of law and the Constitution. His support of white nationalists and other hate groups defiles what our nation stands for and who we are as a people. The damage that he has done to our credibility and standing among the nations of the world will take years to repair. History must see that we did not turn away, offer only a mild slap on the wrist, or allow history to be re-written to whitewash his actions and behavior.
—Sandra L. Frankel
Dastardly attack on the citadel of our democracy that might have been thwarted by proper preventive steps that should have been taken based on known intelligence. Raises question of double standard for mostly white incidents that may have involved some complicit law enforcement officers. I opt for censure as a practical matter because of the closeness to January 20 inauguration of 46th President. Moreover, censure more likely to attract bipartisan support.
—Nathan J. Robfogel
Question: if you shout “fire” in a crowded theater when you know there is no fire, you are not protected by the First Amendment. There are limitations on free speech. If you urge angry people to intimidate elected representatives doing their duty and you know your premise (that you won by a landslide) is wrong, are you responsible for the harm they cause?
—Rev. Richard S. Gilbert
It is clear that the dying embers of whiteness and racism is raising its ugly head in an attempt to be relevant and maintain its privilege. It is the reason why some political and business leaders put power over competence, capability and sadly humanity.
To those who have used privilege to disenfranchise others, the end is near. We will soon be a majority minority Country. It is my sincere Hope and Prayer that when more BIPOC secure more positions of power and agency that we will eliminate privilege because it serves no purpose but to oppress.
BIPOC have more love in our hearts than you realize; we have to in order to survive the oppression you inflict on us every day; when we go for a walk, run, drive, shop, try to achieve our career aspirations and even when we just want to breathe.
It may surprise you that I worry more about you and what it does to your humanity and to your soul to be comfortable and complicit with the oppression of others. What is the most disturbing is how you pass this awful legacy onto your children and grandchildren.
I applaud those of you who have broken the shackles of whiteness and have come to the realization that we are all part of the same human race and have a shared destiny of survival or peril. The realization that what hurts me, hurts you, and what hurts you, hurts me.
I can’t imagine what it is like to be you—how do you sleep, laugh and live your best life while crushing the dreams and life of your human brothers and sisters.
How do you hug your kids at night, take them to the doctor when their sick, take comfort in knowing their bellies are full, knowing they can leave home and not have to worry about being killed by a police officer, celebrate the excesses of their school, find comfort knowing the world is not telling them they are viewed as “less than.”
How do you do it?
One thing I know for certain: your apathy and your complicity does something to your humanity when you knowingly are complicit with the oppression of others.
The hateful acts displayed in our nation’s capital yesterday was undergirded by fear, fear of the end of whiteness and the privilege derived from it.
Those who are fearful of BIPOC don’t realize we’re not looking for them to set us free. We are in fact trying to save you from the shackles of whiteness and how it is destroying your humanity. We love you, we love this country even though we do not feel the love from either.
—Kevin Spencer Beckford
The storming of the U.S. Capitol was a despicable act and the perpetrators need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I am against removal of President Trump from office because I’m extremely concerned that it would lead to more violence across the United States. It is time we as a country come together. I understand it is extremely easy to dismiss Trump supporters, but they make up almost half of the country’s citizens. We need to heal as a nation and both elected officials and the mainstream media need to refrain from divisive rhetoric.
I am outraged at the actions of Donald Trump and deeply saddened by the millions of Americans who are unable to see through his lies. With the death of both police officers and civilians in the attack on Congress, Donald Trump should be charged with inciting riot and murder.
Unless and until all of those who contributed to the invasion of the U.S. Capitol are thoroughly investigated, and all involved are held accountable under the fullest extent of the law, the foundations of our democracy will remain unstable and precarious. Personally, I am convinced it was a calculated operation involving far-right extremists at the highest levels of government.
The storming of the U.S. Capitol was appalling, but not as appalling as having a President who encouraged his followers to do it. It seemed clear, however, that no one had a plan for how the event could actually accomplish its ostensible purpose of helping Trump stay in office, or if they did, those people were not in control—this suggests that the real purpose was just to blow off steam. As such, perhaps the most appalling aspect of the event was how vividly it demonstrated the difference in how demonstrators or mobs are handled when the people making up those groups are largely black or largely white. The single most disturbing anecdote I have read so far was that one of the rioters inside the Capitol asked where Chuck Schumer’s office is, the Capitol police actually tried to direct this individual to that office. Having said all that, attempting to remove Trump from office at this point would be a waste of time, a distraction from more important activities, likely to fail, and be welcomed by Trump, since it would feed his narrative. We are better off trying to turf out his appointees that should be resigning, and making sure that none of them move over into Civil Service positions. In lieu of trying to turf out the president right now, it would be of more value to explore whether he violated any laws during the last couple of months, and pursuing appropriate criminal indictments and charges as the evidence supports.
It is important that Trump’s incitement to a mob’s felony attack on Congress be censured as strongly as possible as behavior that cannot and will not be tolerated. The form this takes (impeachment, 25th Amendment removal, censure by Congress, or something else) is a political decision that should be arrived at politically. Personally, I’d choose some form of immediate removal from office.
Sad and depressing, but not necessarily surprising.
Horrified. Heart-broken. Infuriated. I have nothing but scorn for the rats that now flee the sinking ship, and I wish the captain of that garbage barge would sink from sight forever.
Protest is inherent to the United States. However, some spaces need to be held in higher regard. When those spaces are violated in protest, it must be for purpose, and for specific action for the betterment of our nation. The violent mob, incited by Trump’s own words, crossing the threshold of the Capitol building, the House and Senate Chambers, various offices, and doing so while armed, is not protest, it is insurrection. As with any civil disobedience, one must subject themselves to the repercussions of that willful intent to go against the established rules. They should each be charged, and tried, accordingly. And, the President, who incited this madness, should be impeached, removed from office.
This country cannot wait until the 20th to remove this increasingly demented, deranged, traitorous person from office.
There needs to be a full investigation of this incident including who in gov. departments knew what when and what was their response to implement established procedures to ensure crowd control and secure the Capitol. There needs to be a full assessment if there were insiders who were complicit in this assault and the failure to appropriately respond. An independent investigator needs to be appointed immediately who reports directly to the House & Senate.
As horrific as Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol was, it could have been much, much worse. The mob, incited by Trump, roamed the Capitol. Some had weapons and incendiary devices. Members of the mob could have executed members of Congress. And Trump directly encouraged them.
This was an insurrection instigated, aided and abetted by the President and his minions in his Cabinet and in Congress, who have continued to perpetuate the lie that the election was rigged. These Congresspeople should be thrown out of Congress for not abiding by their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution. The President should immediately be removed from office, either by invoking the 25th Amendment or Impeachment.
He clearly incited his followers to attack the Capitol, knowingly putting hundreds of lives at risk. He lied to them about winning the election and having been cheated out of a second term. We have to make sure he can never do this again.
Donald Trump has been exhorting armed rebellion for months. His words during the insurrection at the Capitol were at the very least, a continuation of incendiary language, and at worst, sedition. His conduct in office, and the continual torrent of lies and misrepresentations are so distant from our best American ideals. I struggle to understand the 74 million who voted for him in 2020, and the millions who continue to support him in the harsh light of his selfish, sociopathic behavior.
A dark moment in American History.
DT has been playing with fire for a long time—I hope that this time he gets burned. His latest act of sedition was a political act and needs to be addressed in the political arena.
Treason. The Republican Party is beyond hope, while the Democratic Party is hopelessly corrupt. Time for a third party.
Really a sad day the way things turned out. Trump does some stupid shit and today takes the cake. However, I guess if they had been BLM folks instead of Trump supporters the MSM would have called it a peaceful protest. Too bad someone got killed in the melee. On the other hand, this sort of thing could pretty well have been predicted. (And I have been sort of predicting it for some time now.) The MSM basically got away with an almost bloodless coup and about 74 million Americans recognized that. No, there probably wasn’t any actionable voter fraud at the end. However, this coup started four years ago when the MSN and the Democrats openly declared that Trump wasn’t their president and they have then proceeded to do everything in their power to overthrow the Trump admin from day 1. I’m waiting for some journalist (if there are any left with any integrity) to go on the air and admit that their slanted coverage of Trump—and the lopsided behavior of Twitter, Facebook, etc.—is the seed that got planted and finally bore fruit today. I still believe that if there were fair reporting (Joe Biden dirty deeds, Hunter Biden dirty deeds, etc.) over the past couple of years that the election would have had much different results and what happened today would not have happened. I didn’t like the way Trump was behaving before. I could sorta live with it when I looked at the good he did though. Now, after the Georgia election results there are no more checks and balances. Couple the left (and moving lefter) movement in the Democratic Party and the exceedingly unbalanced media I truly fear for our country.
Yesterday I was angered and dismayed by the attempted coup brandished by this group of thugs. Today I am saddened by these actions. A part of me wants to truly understand how so many people believe Trump’s lies and think the presidential election was stolen from them. I am tired of this division and hopeful for a future where we can better understand each other and move forward to solve the many challenges facing our nation at this time.
How about tarring and feathering?
Vindictiveness directed at a man recently voted the most admired man in our nation would only widen the American schism in public opinion. We need unity if our new government is going to make lasting progress.
—George Anstadt MD
It was sedition and treason led by a President, assisted into the office by Russian intelligence, as confirmed by all our intelligence agencies, guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice per the findings of the Mueller Report, responsible for the deaths of over a hundred thousand Americans during a pandemic as established by the Woodward tapes, and a bigot who refused to honor or uphold the Constitution as he swore to do. There is much more and many books have been written that establishes this man as a criminal, including two books by Rochester’s own Pulitzer Prize winner, David Cay Johnston.
The people who entered the U.S. Capitol should be found, arrested for attempting a coup, tried in a Court of Law and if convicted, stripped of their citizenship and jailed for life with no chance of parole. No appeals either.
I was shocked but not surprised. Trump has been encouraging this type of behavior for months. The disrespect shown to the building and the police was disappointing shameful.
I am so saddened by the division this President has encouraged. His actions, lies, and selfishness are deplorable. No leadership to address COVID, denial of our electoral process, hatred for the press, and anyone who would challenge him on the slightest issue. 25th immediately.
I was incredibly disheartened and deeply disappointed—in the people who committed acts of violence, in the police for not having been adequately prepared to prevent things given so much advance notice that something like this was likely to happen, and in the lack of anything comparable to the response by police to the Black Lives Matter protests, demonstrating yet again systemic racial inequity. I implore Congress to take whatever steps are necessary to remove Mr. Trump immediately and hold him accountable for his actions—he is clearly a highly ill/disturbed person who should not have the power to do any more damage to our democracy and to people throughout the world. Every day he is in office enables him to wreak more havoc. I am especially disappointed in our elected representatives who made choices about what they would or would not do/say in the previous months and years out of concern for their ability to win elections in the future rather than out of concern for the wellbeing of our country, its citizens, and people throughout the world.
—Jane Ellen Bleeg
George Soros funded the bad boys as usual. Facial recognition has proven that. BLM and Antifa were probably there too. Many had knee pads on and were hired guns and where did the four pallets of bricks come from under a bridge? This was a setup obviously. The whole election has been a setup.
I’ve written our representatives urging them to separate Mr. Trump from the authoritative powers of his office and their potential for him to use for harm, nationally or globally, whether vindictively or by cause of deranged thinking and choosing. But I’m far from certain this constitutes a lesser risk of damage or suffering—however soon or after his departure. Imagine with me one possible alternative scenario, some respects of which might still be achieved. Must eventually be achieved to my mind: Reflect first on these whom Mr. Trump has most energized, a community it is popular to ridicule, discredit as “brutish” or “thuggish”; under-considered and under-served, even disenfranchised—to their own understanding I sense or imagine. Think of how well they have been cautiously observed as to attitudes and actions, even their movements and identities followed and reported. Note their possibilities of hope and expectations in their coming from afar to the January 5th rally; and of “storming” the Capitol, and that these intentions had also been determined and reported. Now imagine Mr. Biden, if not actually anticipating all this as he well might have, acquiring and eventually accepting the awareness that this was an immense political and social gift. If only as the crowd was approaching the first line of standoff, he had appreciated it as a prearranged assembly of his most disaffected community of constituents, presenting before him, accessible to him as never to be again, for him to know and serve, actually, genuinely, eloquently. Imagine him arranging for an electronic megaphone, even a portable one of his own if denied Capitol resources. Imagine him as the crowd was assembling, going out onto the lower elevation and greeting, “receiving” them; perhaps inviting them to come in closer if they wanted (so he could see them better and effect a greater sense of community—COVID cautions having already been totally violated). Imagine him saying he could not invite them in just then as the chambers were in session—but that as soon as they finished he would escort them himself with help of others, as his guests, in touring the realms and halls of their Congress and Senate. And while waiting for access, imagine him answering questions, calling individuals up to ask questions for all to hear. Imagine Joe asking if they were cold or hungry, if any needed health care, and saying he had or would prepare (an armory or field house…?) for them to stay in if they needed or wanted, with cots, sleeping bags, blankets… bathrooms. And good food from local vendors; “on the house.” Imagine Mr. Biden inviting and introducing congressmen and women as they became available to be introduced to, join with and talk to their constituents among the gathering, in perhaps a very rare opportunity to directly serve them. When touring, visualize him inviting a few to sit in his, or the speaker’s or some other assigned place, passing out pens or notepads. There is no end to the flood of imaginable opportunities, group and personal outcomes possible from receiving these citizens at the end of their genuinely patriotic journeys and to some extent perhaps, restoring for them a sense of belonging and being known—and not forgotten … which is different, and worse. Thus the gift – of opportunity to remove within 24 hours not just the heart but through later reputation a much larger realm of constituent discontent; possibly converting it to uplift, even a present as well as historical pride. And yes, the opportunities include political advantages, especially if you require the only acceptable definition of useful political behavior to be a democracy-destroying, winner-take-all sports metaphor. Fanciful? It might be still actualizable by a determined and creative person, whatever the losses due to lateness. Whether actualized or not, I feel prepared to argue this as characterizing what our practice and experience of polis must become, and soon, if we are to ever achieve a fully intentioned and effective democracy such as that for which we’re told our founders hoped, but I estimate we must re-imagine and recalibrate for our time, to achieve. Respectfully,
—Jim Marks, Irondequoit.
The Domestic Terrorists should be charged and the lack of planning on the part of the Capitol Police must be investigated.
Remove Trump immediately, prosecute all of these traitors. Shame on the D&C for featuring an article on a Trumper lawyer and his son being down there. More enabling. That’s how we got here. We sure did see a whole lot of white privilege. The most shameful, humiliating episode in the history of our country.
—Andrew MacGowan, III
Americans need to recognize the growing presence of right wing militants and make sure this is recognized (they are Americans) and dealt with. We also need to acknowledge and deal with all of the ambiguities in our laws. Lastly, we need to take certain privileges away from the President, specifically pardons.
It was totally un-American and would likely not have happened if the President had not told them to storm the Capitol. For that, I believe he must be held accountable.
The storming of the capital was absolutely unforgivable, just as the debacle in Seattle was totally inappropriate. The only danger to our republic is the duopoly of the party system.
Lots of places to point fingers for this terrible event but if you had to point in any one direction it has to go to Trump. He’s been living in an alternative world spewing false facts for 4 years, peaking these last few weeks. He knew exactly what he was doing and given his losses in the election and the courts, coupled with attempts to strong arm election officials, he came down to his last chance, stop Congress from certifying the election. He stood in front of thousands of people and told them to be strong and take the building. Scores of people were injured, 6 people have died, many will lose their jobs and be thrown in jail. Just like most of his life, people’s lives will be damaged doing his dirty work, and he’ll walk free. Space here doesn’t permit the opportunity to talk about the politicians who have supported him!
I support impeachment. Donald Trump is and will not be the only oaf who would treacherously incite angry supporters to overturn by and replace with force the democratic processes of our nation and Constitution when they don’t get the electoral and legislative results they want. A message must be sent to US and the world’s citizens in the clearest terms that such betrayal of our nation’s institutions will not be condoned or tolerated—to do otherwise endangers our nation’s future as a democracy and its leadership in the world. Not only Trump and his cultists, but also the mealy-mouthed, sycophantic legislators who back Trump’s enormities when he’s strong and scurrilously abandon him when he’s weak need to get the message that their behavior is unpatriotic, reprehensible, and positively harmful to America and the world around it.
—Michael D. Leach, Rochester.
The storming of the Capitol was HORRIBLE! I wonder if President Trump has a mental problem as an after-effect of COVID?!? Mental changes have been reported! He looks different and acts different. He has always been egotistical and a bully, but the November-December behavior is different.
—Sheila Gissin Weinbach
There is simply not enough time to effectuate an impeachment and if it fails it emboldens Trumpism. The 25th Amend. can be swift. However, I don’t see the remaining administration officials willing to take that step. I also worry that it would further inflame the radical fringe even more. With a commitment from Pompeo or O’Brien to keep DJT in check for the next 2 weeks I would be comfortable with that scenario. However, with a proviso that should DJT attempt anything truly insane that Pence will employ the 25A option.
—David L. Cook
Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor.
For me, it is clear that Mr. Trump’s malignant narcissism has morphed into a more dangerous psychopathology. With his continuing power over the next 12 days as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces and his fingers not far from the nuclear codes, he remains a clear and present danger, despite his speech on promoting a peaceful transition of power. He is not to be entrusted with either our safety or that of the global community. It is time for his immediate removal under the provisions of the 25th amendment.
I don’t think the full magnitude of what transpired at the Capitol has truly sunk in. Electronic media is a 24/7 “in your face” medium as is social media. What happened is so significant and unnerving that citizens want to first react angrily, which is a somewhat primitive survival instinct. Then there is sort of a tribal response, where depending upon your political affiliation you either want the most severe consequences or you take a less drastic point of view. The conundrum is that Trump has only 12 days left and many of us are terrified of what he could possibly unleash during the remainder of his term. At this point our citizens need to digest the implications of this “black swan event” and look for both short and long term remedies. Of greatest consequence is trusting our elected officials to make wise and effective decisions on our behalf. I called my Congresspersons office this morning and made my views clear. Anyone who reads this, I encourage them to do the same. May God bless America and every person within.