Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been a driving force in Congress’s response to last week’s Capitol riots, when domestic terrorists attempted to personally attack and intimidate her by breaking into her office, sitting at her desk, and stealing her possessions. But rather than cower in fear, she has led the House into taking action at an astonishing speed.
Pelosi wasted no time this week, using all of her powers as the House speaker to ensure that the insurrectionists, as well as the president himself, face consequences for their deadly, treasonous actions.
In so many ways, Pelosi has shown incredible leadership and given feminists around the country hope during this unprecedented crisis.
1. Pelosi led the House in calling for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Pelosi made it clear that she would use all of her options to stand up for democracy, and for the safety of her colleagues after the Capitol riots. She urged Vice President Mike Pence to fulfill his constitutional duty to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office. According to Pelosi,
“This man is deadly to our democracy and to our people. In inciting sedition as he did yesterday, he must be removed from office. Although there are 13 days left, every day can be a horror show in America.”
Even though she knew Pence was unlikely to defy Trump, Pelosi’s House passed a resolution giving him 24 hours to take action—and promising that impeachment would follow if he refused. She forced him to directly and publicly refuse to hold Trump accountable, and proved that she would not be deterred in her goal to limit President Trump’s power, for the well-being of our country.
2. She led the effort towards a historic impeachment.
At the same time she was urging Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, Pelosi was also pursuing multiple parallel strategies. On Wednesday, she led the House in a historic vote—Trump became the first president to be impeached twice, this time for “incitement of insurrection.” It was the most bipartisan impeachment ever, with 10 Republicans, including Liz Cheney, the only woman in Republican leadership, voting to impeach.
In a testament to the severity of the insurrection, and Pelosi’s commitment to upholding our democracy, she was able to move this impeachment extremely fast—while still following the proper procedures. She’s expected to send the impeachment article to the Senate next week, kicking off Trump’s second impeachment trial.
3. She revealed her “Impeachment Outfit.”
Not content with simply voting to impeach Trump for a second time, Pelosi did it with style. Eagle-eye viewers noticed that she wore the same black dress and gold necklace to both impeachment proceedings. She cleverly used her fashion choices to underline the historical significance of the unprecedented vote, and to send Trump an unspoken message: “We’ve impeached you before, and we’ll do it again.”
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4. She called for consequences for congressional accomplices.
Pelosi spoke on Friday about the investigation into Congress members who may have helped rioters gain access to the Capitol building. She made it clear that any members of Congress who aided and abetted the Capitol attack should be criminally prosecuted. Once again, Pelosi proved that security and safety are her primary concerns, and that criminals, regardless of their elected positions, will face consequences.
5. She increased security measures to keep Congress safe.
Following the attacks on the Capitol building, Pelosi immediately began increasing security measures to ensure the riots are never repeated. She called for the resignation of the Capitol Police Chief after he failed to prepare for the pro-Trump protest that turned into a violent mob.
Pelosi also announced that retired Lt. General Russel Honoré will lead an investigation and review of Capitol Hill security, saying:
“To protect our Democracy, we must now subject the security of the U.S. Capitol Complex to rigorous scrutiny. To that end, I have asked Lt. General Russel Honoré (Ret.), a respected leader with experience dealing with crises, to lead an immediate review of the Capitol’s security infrastructure, interagency processes and procedures, and command and control.”
6. She stood up to House members trying to dodge security measures.
After the riots, new security procedures, including metal detectors, were installed in the Capitol. Several Republican lawmakers immediately demonstrated their bewilderingly strong defiance of those safety measures—including Rep. Lauren Boebert, who set off the metal detector and refused to allow Capitol police to search her bag.
Pelosi proposed a new House rule that would fine lawmakers who refuse to follow the new security procedures: $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second, deducted directly from their salaries. While the rule won’t be voted on until after Biden’s inauguration, it will be a huge step towards ensuring Congress members’ safety.
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