THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: A Republic, If You Can Keep It

The full rundown from our January 14, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

THE COMPLETE 17 PERCENT: A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Don’t Mess With Texas

It’s no secret that emotions were high when Congress returned to session Wednesday night. Just as fellow Political Playlist leader Conor Lamb (D-PA) was giving his speech, Colin and GOP Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) got into what appeared to be a near-physical altercation. Now, messing with Colin, an ex-NFL player, was probably not in Harris’s best interest and his office has since released a statement that Colin was stepping in to ease the tensions – happy to hear it. On a more official note, Colin issued a statement supporting the articles of impeachment, which he followed through on during yesterday’s vote.

Anthony Brindisi (D; NY-22)

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing, Voting

As Anthony shared his statement in support of and then voted for impeachment, his November race against GOP opponent Claudia Tenney is STILL being argued over in the NY State Supreme Court. The last race to be called, there is yet another ridiculous development – Oneida County botched 2,400 legal voter registrations, rendering the individuals unable to vote on election day. While this is clearly not the biggest shock in institutional collapse this week, it’s still incredibly disappointing.

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

Security at Stake

Sharice did not mince words in a series of tweets she sent out on Wednesday after the events at the Capitol unfurled. “We will have a new president on Jan. 20, but we cannot trust Donald Trump to uphold his oath of office over the next 14 days. Our democracy, safety, and security is at stake,” she said – immediately turning to VP Pence and the Cabinet and their powers to remove the president. Since, Sharice voted a resounding ‘yes’ to the articles of impeachment that were presented yesterday.

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

The Truth Hurts

Conor is known as one of the more moderate members of Congress, making deals and friends with politicians from both sides of the aisle. However, on Wednesday, he felt the urge to speak out as the objections to his state’s election results were being debated. ““We know that the attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere, it was inspired by lies — the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight. The members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves, their constituents should be ashamed of them.” His pointed words caused some drama, which escalated as Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) got into an altercation with Political Playlist leader Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX). Lamb continued, “The truth hurts.” He voted to impeach the president yesterday.

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Epiphany is Not Enough

After calling for the 25th amendment to be invoked, Seth voted to impeach Trump and Seth had a message for Republicans – grow a pair. “[Republicans] are having epiphanies right now, but the problem is what they need is not an epiphany, they need to find some courage to do the right thing,” he said. Seth called out his GOP colleagues for privately insisting Trump must be removed, but not having the will to act on it publicly. While we don’t expect Seth’s words to have much of an impact in his still very partisan moment, we’ll see if he and his friends across the aisle find reconciliation again.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

Don’t Let it Happen Again

AOC, unsurprisingly one of the first to call for the impeachment of President Trump over Wednesday’s events, has one focus on her mind – accountability. She warns that if Congress does not act now, despite the short timeline, there’s no telling what could happen. “The officials urging for no serious consequences after Wednesday’s attack on our country… are opening the door for it to happen again,” she wrote. She also made a point to call out some of her Republican colleagues, including newly elected Political Playlist leader, Nicole Malliotakis (D-NY), for what she viewed as hypocritical praise of law enforcement on Friday after Nicole had voted to object to the election results that “incited a riot that killed a Capitol Police officer.”

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

No Other Choice

As one of the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus, Abigail was one of the last to back impeachment just over a year ago. This time around, she sees it as the only choice remaining. She issued an official statement backing invokement of the 25th Amendment and eventually voted to impeach the president yesterday. “We are only talking about impeachment because Republicans in the [House] and the [Senate], Republicans who know that he is unfit to serve are not in groups, are not in mass, calling on this president to resign.” She called back to Nixon’s resignation and the lawmakers who privately urged him to do so before impeachment took place. This time around? Not so much.

Rashida Talib (D; MI-13)

Marching Orders

Rashida isn’t one to ask voters to read the subtext. A year ago, during the first impeachment of President Trump, her call to “impeach the motherf****r” riled up both supporters and opponents. This time around, expletives haven’t entered the equation yet (at least publicly), but she and fellow ‘Squad’ members drafted a letter to Congressional leadership swiftly last Thursday morning to reconvene both chambers of Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, which officially went down yesterday. Her words on Wednesday evening were direct – “This is on Donald Trump, period. He called folks to D.C. and gave them marching orders. He needs to be impeached and removed immediately.”

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

Banana Republic Crap

Mike was one of the first Republican members of the House to come out with strong words about the “banana republic crap” at the Capitol and President Trump’s role in it. He took to Twitter with a video not only condemning the violence but insisting that President Trump “call it off”. Though he did not vote to impeach Trump, he also compared what he witnessed to his experience being deployed in Iraq, as many other veteran lawmakers have. One of the most staunch critics of China and its government, Mike stated, “If we don’t think the Chinese Communist Party is sitting back and laughing, we’re deluding ourselves.”

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

Rejecting Mob Rule

Jaime is known for her conservative, but independent values as the only remaining Republican representative of a west coastal district. She upheld that independence when she delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor Wednesday night after the riots, calling for all lawmakers to reject “a country of lawlessness, of ‘might makes right,’ of mob rule”. To make her rejection of that lawlessness clear, she was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach President Trump yesterday.

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

Risk for What’s Right

Adam has been a consistent and outspoken critic of the President within the Republican party. This week, his years of warnings to his fellow party members came to a head and he didn’t wait to respond. “Here’s the truth. The president caused this. The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president now must relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily,” he said in a video released early on Thursday – becoming the first Republican lawmaker to call for Trump’s removal. Adam followed through on that by being one of 10 Republican members to vote for impeachment. In an interview on ABC, he had a pointed remark to his colleagues: “We have to be willing to give our careers to do the right thing.”

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

A Yay is a Yay

Many Republican lawmakers who initially were planning on voting to object to the certification of the presidential election results reversed their vote after the attacks on the Capitol. Guy, however, was not among them. An initial proponent of the vote to overturn, he followed through on his commitment to challenge the results and voted, with 146 other Republican members, yay. Since the vote, we have all watched as social media platforms across the board have temporarily or permanently suspended Trump’s account. Guy, like many Republicans, have spoken out against the move, stating that, “If Congress doesn’t act swiftly to contain Big Tech we will quickly see our first amendment rights fade away.” He, unsurprisingly, did not vote to impeach Trump yesterday.

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Politics for Political Sake

Greg has been one of Trump’s most staunch supporters throughout his presidency. That support did not falter after the attacks on the Capitol. Greg issued a statement condemning the violence, but still joined 146 other Republicans in objecting the certification of Joe Biden’s election to the presidency. Now, what has Greg irked is the Democrats’ push to impeach Trump for a second time. Greg dismissed the efforts as an “opportunity to politicize”, though he fell in the minority, as the House passed the articles of impeachment yesterday. The debate about unity and accountability continues to press on in the aftermath of last week’s events – do you agree with Greg?

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Shame on Them

Among one of the most conservative members of the Senate, Tom is known for his staunch and often controversial opinions – you may recall his OpEd supporting military intervention into the protests this past summer. However, after the violence at the Capitol, Tom issued a statement, part of which read, “And the senators and representatives who fanned the flames by encouraging the president and leading their supporters to believe that their objections could reverse the election results should withdraw those objections.” He has yet to call Sen. Hawley and Sen. Cruz out by name, but after giving several interviews, it’s clear he has had enough with what he calls his colleagues’ actions for “political advantage”. Referring, most likely, to Hawley and Cruz’s 2024 presidential hopes, Tom has kept his own ambition out of it, but we have a feeling he’s making some calculated choices here for a run at the highest office.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

Playing With Fire

Like other freshman members of Congress, Ritchie did not have the first week on the job he was expecting. After the attack on the Capitol he joined his Democratic (and some Republican) colleagues in calling for invoking the 25th amendment, and later supporting the articles of impeachment, which have now passed by Democrats and a handful of Republicans. Now, he says, “I no longer have as much confidence in the security of the Capitol that I once did”. And his message to his GOP colleagues? “You’re playing with fire. You’re throwing gasoline on a combustible situation that will do irreparable damage to our democracy.”

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Never Another COUP

Jamaal joined his Democratic colleagues in calling for the impeachment of President Trump, but he’s also gone one step further. As a freshman member of Congress, the first bill Jamaal has introduced is called The COUP (Congressional Oversight of Unjust Policing) Act. It would establish a national commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol and address what he says are systemic failures in the security apparatus while investigating alleged ties between members of the Capitol Police and white supremacist movements. The bill is gaining traction – we’ll see where it goes. On a lighter note, please enjoy this video of Jamaal dancing in his car to celebrate 100k Instagram followers.

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Investigate and Expel

Cori got her political start by being an activist and nurse in the protests after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Now, with her newfound role as a Congresswoman, she’s not only condemned the violence at the Capitol and called for the impeachment of Trump (watch her scathing message about Trump on the House floor), but she’s introduced her first resolution to Congress. House Resolution 25 calls for the investigation and expulsion of GOP members who attempted to overturn the election and therefore, she says, incited the attack. “Our democracy cannot be attacked – especially from within – and we do nothing,” she said in an interview. While this resolution might not pick up enough steam to cause any widespread action, Cori is making her presence known and has issued what is quickly becoming a progressive rallying cry on social media and elsewhere – “We can’t have unity without accountability.”

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

The Will of the People

Before the attacks on Wednesday, the main focus of members of the Republican party was whether or not to support the objection to the election results. David took a hard position, declaring that “it is not the role of Congress to choose who the states certify.” However, after testing positive for Covid, David was not officially sworn in and therefore had to sit the eventual vote out. David took to Twitter though, denouncing the violence and later praising the bravery of law enforcement involved. Now a sworn in member, David made perhaps one of the most consequential votes of his term one of his first – he was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach President Trump, calling the president a “a driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6”.

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

Political Stunts

Kat has been one of the most outspoken new members of Congress, and usually in strong support of the president. Though her support has not waivered and she ended up objecting to the election results, she did take an opportunity to condemn the violence at the Capitol saying, “just because someone says something that is well within their first amendment rights, doesn’t mean that a person is supposed to go out and create acts of violence and break the law.” However, she also has made her point of view on yesterday’s impeachment very clear, calling it a shameful political stunt by Nancy Pelosi and Democrats. She, like many other Republicans, wants to move on and reminds people of the very real problems we face – “Americans are hurting after a year of a global pandemic that has shuttered business and really devastated our local communities.”

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

We Need a Leader

While two-thirds of Republicans voted to object to the election results last week, Ashley was not one of them. In fact, she was part of a group of 12 Republicans who wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy in support of certifying the results, even “though doing so may frustrate our immediate political objectives”. In the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol, Ashley condemned the violence, noting that some responsibility lied with the president, though she didn’t go on the attack like some other Republicans. She did have a message for him: “Lead the nation. We need it right now.” After his impeachment yesterday, which Ashley strongly opposed, we’ll see how much leading he’s able to do in his last week.

Byron Donalds (R; FL-19)

So-Called Patriotism

In his official statement regarding the attacks on the Capitol, Byron condemned the violence that was going on around him and said that “the actions of the unruly mob took away from many Americans’ real concerns regarding the integrity of the election but, even worse, were a warped display of so-called patriotism.” Byron stuck to his commitment and voted to object to the election results, despite the attacks, saying the people of the mob did not “embody his constituents’ values and heart” and voted against impeachment of the president.

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

Lawlessness

Victoria had her mind made up to not challenge the election results before the violent events last Wednesday unfolded. “The recourse is with the American people, at the ballot box, in the next election as it has been for the last 200 years,” she said. In the aftermath of the attack, Victoria focused on the breach of security at the Capitol, writing a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking her to, “please advise what processes were directed by you to provide enhanced security… in light of the known and anticipated major public demonstration on January 6th.” Yesterday, she spoke on the House floor against impeaching the president, citing the lack of due process.

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

The Rule of Law

Tony was in the minority of Congressional Republicans and did not vote to object to the election results last week, though he did not vote to impeach the president yesterday. He, like every other member, was shocked and saddened by the violence that erupted, saying, “we settle our differences through the rule of law, not through chaos”. Tony had a unique perspective as a Navy veteran, jumping in to help the outnumbered Capitol Police when the mob was outside the House chamber. He ended an interview afterwards with this chilling realization – “I fight in Iraq and Afghanistan just to be killed in the House of Representatives.”

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

Unite and Heal

Blake issued a lengthy statement not only addressing his condemnation for the attacks on the Capitol, but also about the vote to object to the election results. In defending his decision to not oppose the results, he cited the states’ responsibility in counting and submitting votes, not the federal government. He also, interestingly, pointed to his state of Utah’s voting system as a model for other states to replicate, citing that “it took Utah several years to ensure we had a secure and efficient election process to address the integrity of mail-in ballots.” In the end, Blake extended an arm across the aisle, looking forward to working with Biden, but also rejecting Democrats’ push for invoking the 25th Amendment and impeachment, which he voted against, instead calling for the country to “unite and heal”.

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

Enough is Enough

Pete, the Vice Chairman of the 117th Congress, has a newfound power within his party. He’s not letting a second go to waste and cosponsored the articles of Impeachment that were voted on in the House yesterday. Despite having been outspoken in the past, now, as one of the top Democrats, he is ardently pushing to hold Trump accountable. In an official statement, he wrote, “President Trump has worked to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election and his incitement of domestic terrorists who stormed the Capitol was a seditious, insurrectionist act. Enough is enough.”

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

The Hundred Dollar Bill Man

After the Constitutional Convention of 1787 Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?’ Franklin’s oft-repeated reply: ‘A republic if you can keep it.’ Brendan cited Franklin in his official statement, which also calls for an inquiry into the House members who claimed election fraud, saying it was “a ridiculous fantasy” and “nothing short of a seditious subversion of the will of the American people.” Brendan echoed Franklin’s words (as well as throwing in some expletives) on the House floor to defend the Pennsylvania electoral votes. He was also asked by Speaker Pelosi to deliver last week’s National Democratic Address, in which he stated that certifying the election results was about “the survival of our democracy” before voting to impeach the president yesterday.

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

This Partisan and Angry Path

Jared released an official statement related to the attacks on the U.S. Capitol and certifying the electoral college, noting that witnessing the attacks allowed a unique opportunity “to stare into the ugly depths of what could lie ahead if we continue down this partisan and angry path.” Before voting to impeach Trump, he also called out to the young voters and lawmakers around the country by saying, “no laws can govern our peaceful existence and the safety of our democracy unless we also deliberately choose to preserve both ideals for ourselves and for future generations.”

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

The Capitol Cleaner

A photo of Andy went viral showing him on his hands and knees to clean up inside the U.S. Capitol at 1 in the morning. It shows him picking up water bottles, clothing, Trump flags and even a U.S. flag that was littered on the floor. When asked why he decided to help he responded, “When you see something you love that’s broken you want to fix it…What else could I do?” Andy’s official statement calls for immediate removal of President Trump from office, which he followed through on by voting for impeachment yesterday.

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

No Facts

Joe is certainly a member of Congress who knows how to get things done, having sponsored or co-sponsored 20 bills that became law. Now, he’s calling on that no-nonsense attitude to condemn the objections to the election, stating, “no substance, no evidence, no facts, no explanation for why over 88 judges across this land have rejected the very same claims [of voter fraud].” He continued, “the bottom line is this…the people have spoken.” Joe was one of the first to sign on for VP Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and voted yesterday to impeach the president. He also spoke on the House floor defending the election results when Arizona was being debated.

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

Chill Americans to Their Core

“What we witnessed yesterday should chill Americans to their core. Riotous, armed mobs overcame law enforcement and stormed the Capitol, and they attempted to derail American democracy, “ Chris said on his local TV network, noting that these protestors clearly came with violent intentions. He supports the immediate removal of President Trump under the 25th amendment and joined his Democratic caucus in voting to impeach yesterday. He went on to follow that January 6th was a day that was supposed to unify the American people not to divide. What we can all agree on is that it will be a day to remember.

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

A Heavy Price

“We’ve heard from military leaders, national security leaders, even in his own administration, about how serious of a breach this was for our national security and our democracy. Imagine what our foreign adversaries think right now, should the Capitol have been taken so easily for a brief period of time,” Darren said, getting straight to the point in a phone interview last week. His official statement discusses his support for the 25th amendment and he does not believe that President Trump should be in office another minute, joining his fellow Democrats in voting to impeach the president. Noting that there were, in fact, Republicans and Democrats who came together to certify the election results, Darren singles out the Republicans who didn’t join that certification – “Those who take extremist positions will find themselves not only in the minority here but even within their own party.”

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

This Experiment of Self-Governance

“President Trump can no longer defend our country or her ideals. Every second he is in power is a risk to everyone’s personal security and our country’s democratic ideals, ” Eric wrote in his official statement, calling for the removal and/or impeachment of the president as soon as possible, which he voted in favor of yesterday. He has been on the biggest supporters to remove President Trump from the beginning, so it is no surprise that he is in favor removal, but Eric also is looking towards the future. In an interview after the events at the Capitol he said, “(it’s) most important to show ourselves and the world that this experiment of self-governance can continue.”

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

No Do-Overs

As Congress was dealing with its own election results and an attack, Lauren’s opponent, Republican Jim Oberweis, who she defeated by 5,300 votes, is claiming fraud, and asking for a “do-over.” Lauren said she is not paying much attention to the claims as she has more important things to do. She put out an official statement to call out her colleagues who were objecting to the election results as “elected leaders capitalizing on hate and anti-democratic anger. There should be no historical sanctuary for those who ignited this fire.” While she was busy voting to impeach the president, the claims from Lauren’s former opponent show that the call of election fraud isn’t going away at any level of government.

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Save Democracy

Jim will be introducing the Save Democracy Act to secure our federal elections for 2022, 2024 and beyond and restore the public’s faith in free and fair elections. Jim did not release an official statement on his website, but he did release a statement on Facebook that condemned the violence along with now supporting a peaceful transition of power. A big Trump supporter, Jim voted in to object to the electoral college results and against impeachment yesterday, though he is in favor of prosecuting the rioters and making the pay for the mistakes they caused. We’ll have to wait and see if his vision for securing American elections gains momentum.

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Finger Pointing

It is no surprise that Matt’s name has come up a lot after the events of last week – since the beginning, he has been a loyal Trump supporter. First, he was one of the Republican lawmakers to oppose the certification of the election results and spoke passionately on the House floor to make that known. After the attack, Matt said that rioters were “Antifa in disguise.” Though this is factually unsupported, many believe this claim to be true. Matt has made no official statement on his website that condemns the attacks and, in this case, we’re sadly seeing conspiracy theories take center stage. He followed up his first speech with another passionate one yesterday during impeachment hearings.

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

Civil Rights Revision

Due to the President’s social media ban, Lance is planning to draft a bill to amend the Civil Rights Act to include political affiliation as an impermissible basis of discrimination. Lance was part of the delegation to object about election results and he was even more vocal to encourage other Republican members of Congress to do the same. Lance, like many other Republicans, has yet to put an official statement on their website about the attacks, instead focusing his attention on the potential impeachment on President Trump (which he voted against), as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

Telephone Town Hall Protest

“The Constitution is more important than my personal political views or my political popularity,” Dusty said in an official statement about his decision to certify the election results for Joe biden. He also hosted a town hall call to field questions from his constituents about the events that happened at the Capitol and many South Dakotans participating in the call questioned his leadership for not taking a larger role in objecting to the certification of the election results. Despite the backlash, he stuck to his claim that there was no constitutional basis to do so though he did not vote to impeach the president.

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

No One’s to Blame, We’re All to Blame

Markwayne, who voted to object to the electoral college results, was mere inches away from the rioters – you can see him standing behind Capitol Police in photos when they barricaded the House Chamber doors. Thankfully Markwayne is a former MMA fighter, so perhaps he thought he could handle what might have broken through the barricade. He was also present when the Capitol police officer fatally shot a woman who was part of the mob trying to push onto the floor. Despite having been so close to the terrifying action, Markwayne (who unsurprisingly did not vote to impeach the president) deflected criticism from President Trump and instead shifted the blame to… everyone? He said, “No one is to blame here. We are all to blame.” While we can appreciate that the situation is complex, his flurry of contradictory riddles in the aftermath of the attacks calls for a cocked head at the very least.

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Enough Already!

“What we need right now is for leaders to tone their actions, not inflame the situation,” Bryan said in a statement vehemently objecting to the invocation of the 25th Amendment. Bryan has had enough and even more with the fact that the Democrats (and some Republicans) voted to impeach President Trump, which he believes is a waste of time and could inflame more protests. He condemned the attacks on the Capitol and expressed that if you want to exercise the First Amendment you need to follow the law.

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Yes, I Object, TWICE

Lee voted against certifying the election results in both Arizona and Pennsylvania though he was also outspoken when it came to the attack on Congress, saying there is “zero tolerance for violence in any form.” While he has been one of the President’s strongest supporters and unsurprisingly voted against impeachment yesterday, he eventually acknowledged the election results and called for a peaceful transition of power. “For our nation to thrive, we need our economy growing, our national security strong, our freedoms defended, our Constitution protected, and so much more.” So much more, indeed!

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

I Yield Back My…Evacuate!

Right before the Capitol was put on lockdown, Kyrsten was finishing her speech on the Senate floor. She provided facts about the Arizona process, like over 80% of registered voters in Arizona voted and that early voting has been around in the state for over 100 years. Eight challenges contesting the Arizona election were brought to federal and state courts. All eight were withdrawn or dismissed – including a unanimous ruling by Arizona’s Supreme Court. She ended her speech by saying “Senator McCain was right; today, we have serious, significant work to do, beating the pandemic and reviving our economy. I urge my colleagues to follow the example of Senator McCain and so many others, reject this meritless challenge, and uphold the will of Arizona’s voters.”

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

A New Generation

“Their lack of moral courage in the face of a temper tantrum from a defeated president has made this perhaps the most dismal day for democracy in our lifetimes,” Jake said in his official statement regarding the electoral college. Yesterday, he voted to impeach the president. As the youngest member from the Massachusetts congressional delegation, he could be a leader for the millennial generation and we’re beginning to think he sees himself as such. He emphasized that “a new generation, a millennial generation, of elected leaders are going to work to restore moral courage in Congress, so that we can take on these existential challenges of creating good clean energy jobs to fight climate change, confronting racial injustice and being true to our creed of equal opportunity for all.” Let’s go Millennial leaders!

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

Take Off Your Congressional Pin

“During my years of service with the United Nations and the State Department, working in conflict-torn countries and in the aftermath of violent coups, I never would have anticipated the same level of violence as I witnessed today at our own Capitol,” Sara explained in her official statement regarding the attacks. She not only took the time to compare last week’s attacks to the one’s she’s seen elsewhere in her career, but also to give the public some chilling details of her and her staff’s experience sheltering in place for 5 hours. Security told her to take off their Congressional pin so protestors could not identify her as a member of Congress. Sara was hopeful that Pence would invoke the 25th amendment (which he didn’t) and ended up voting for impeachment yesterday. She has pledged to spend every moment in Congress making sure that this is not our future.

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

A Rising Star

Madison is probably the most well-known of the new members to join Political Playlist. With ~350,000 Instagram followers and 200,000 Twitter followers he has a strong base, many of whom are staunch supporters of Trump. Madison spoke at the ‘Save America’ March last Wednesday and on the floor of Congress to object to the 2020 election results, however, he eventually called the rioters “disgusting and pathetic”. Madison now agrees that the President should concede, but he does not think he should be removed from office and voted against impeachment. Madison has a massive platform and many loyal followers and he has preached the need to appeal to both sides – it will be interesting to see how the events of last week influence his next two years.

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

For the Greater Good

“They were being lied to. They were being misled,” Peter said of the protestors listening to President Trump’s speech at the ‘Save America’ March. An Iraq & Afghanistan veteran, he has been clear about the fairness of the election process and has not held back in his criticism of the President. He called President Trump’s ‘concession speech’ unacceptable and believes that Republicans need to take responsibility for the lies that were spread about election fraud. Speaking out has led to consequences for many Republicans – many being accosted on the street, receiving death threats, and even needing armed security, but it seems Peter’s willing to take that risk as he was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach the president yesterday.

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Superspreader?

We can’t yet point the finger at Jake, butttttttttt… he tested positive for COVID after giving remarks on the House floor while objecting to the 2020 election results. If more members of Congress test positive for COVID, Jake could end up in the hot seat. In his remarks surrounding the attack on the Capitol, Jake said he will always defend the first amendment, but emphasized that the way the protest unfolded was “un-American and an utter betrayal of that founding principle”. He did not vote to impeach the president yesterday.

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

Wiped Out

“Everything that he’s worked for … all of that — his entire legacy — was wiped out yesterday. We’ve got to start over.” Nancy served on President Trump’s leadership team during his 2016 election and supported him in 2020, but ultimately voted to certify the election results. While she intends to take election integrity allegations seriously, she pointed to the Constitution to support her decision, though she did not vote to impeach the president yesterday. Early last week, as intel was going around and how Trump’s ‘Save America’ March might unfold, Nancy (a single mother of two) sent her children home to South Carolina as a safety precaution and, sadly, she’s glad she did. When people’s kids avoid danger like that by a razor thin margin, we know we have to do better.

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Enforce the National Monument Order

“I’m the daughter of a Cuban refugee, so when I hear someone talk about socialism it scares me.” Nicole campaigned on this message and perhaps this sentiment is what led her to object to the results of the 2020 election. After last week’s events, she has faced significant backlash from Progressive New York Representatives about her vote. She’s since doubled down, calling for fraud investigations, but also insisting that anyone involved in the rioting be arrested and prosecuted per President Trump’s National Monument Order, which authorizes the attorney general to prioritize these crimes with the Department of Justice. If convicted the penalty could be up to 10 years in prison for injury to a federal property. Ouch!

Nanette Diaz Barragan

The 25th Game Of Chicken

Following the deadly events at the Capitol last week, Nanette joined the delegation of congressional leaders calling for the President’s immediate removal from office and voted for his impeachment yesterday. Last week, she joined Congressman Jamie Raskin in co-sponsoring a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, though that was swiftly blocked by the House GOP. In her official statement, she stressed his “egregious violation of his constitutional oath” as clear justification for immediate removal.

Jason Crow

I Will Protect This House

Combat instincts and muscle memory remain strong in this former Army Ranger who leapt into action during last week’s siege of the Capitol, protecting fellow colleagues from the rioters while displaying poise under pressure. He issued an official statement on the events calling out the President but also laying the blame squarely at the feet for the men and women in Congress who have enabled him for so long and voted for impeachment yesterday. Despite any political differences, he ensures that his first allegiance is to the constitution and his fellow Americans, which is why he remained on the House floor until all of his colleagues had safely evacuated. That’s heroics worthy of applause.

Antonio Delgado

The Show Must Go On

Antonio joined his colleagues in voting for impeachment for the second time for this sitting President, saying Trump “incited a violent insurrection… while Congress ought to uphold its constitutional duty.” In his official statement following the deadly events, Antonio made it clear that he would not settle for anything less than the immediate removal of the President. Unfortunately, so much turmoil overshadowed some good as two of Antonio’s Veteran’s bills were signed into law just one day prior. It’s a reminder that no matter the circumstances, the work always continues.

Ruben Gallego

Domestic Terrorism 101

This former Marine veteran did not mince words in his official statement saying, “Domestic terrorists—instigated by a President unhinged from reality—attacked our government.” Ruben supports the removal of the President and voted for impeachment and he has joined fellow under-45er Jason Crow in demanding that the US Army account for why the National Guard was not there at the Capitol to intercept what was a “terrorist attack” and not a “constitutionally-protected protest”. Furthermore, Ruben has been very vocal about the need to harshly punish any military veterans who wrongly and criminally participated in the events, including recalling them to the military so they may stand proper military trial.

Josh Harder

This Is Finally Over Tonight

Despite the violent attempts by the Capitol attackers, Josh tweeted out a video later that night which struck a rather hopeful and defiant tone. With wounds still very much open, Josh stood in the damaged halls of the Capitol to remind us that the efforts of the insurrectionists had failed and were destined to fail. Congress was to resume certification of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, no matter how long it took, finally closing the book on this horrifying chapter. Since then, Josh has joined colleagues in calling for the immediate removal of Trump “by any legal means” and voted to impeach the president yesterday.

Ro Khanna

Proud To Be An American

Ro has been steadfast in his calling-out of many things related to the events at the Capitol. He has spoken out about the glaring discrepancies between past policing efforts towards black and brown protesters compared to how these insurrectionists were treated. He has weighed in unequivocally on fellow under-45er Josh Hawley’s scrapped book-deal. And most of all, he voted to impeach the president so that the fundamentals of our democracy can be upheld. In his earlier statement, he praised Leader McConnell, a rare instance he admitted to, and said the senator’s words, albeit late, were his finest. Despite the dark cloud still hanging overhead, Ro still managed to find the hope in why he came to Washington in the first place.

Mike Levin

Write While You Wait

While the Capitol was stormed and members of Congress sheltered in their offices for safety, Mike decided to put pen to paper and take a written stand for posterity. In penning an op-ed literally while hiding in place, he professed his commitment to seeing this election certification to completion because of the oath he took just three days prior to “defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Since it’s publication the following day, Mike has vocally come out in support of Trump’s immediate removal and voted for his unprecedented impeachment yesterday.

Stephanie Murphy

Count Me In

Stephanie supported Impeachment for the second time of the same sitting president because of his “inciting violence and insurrection” seen in a grotesque display at the Capitol last week. In her statements, she called on Congress’s constitutional and moral obligation to act as a system of checks and balances on this President as the primary justification for her support of removal from office. And, speaking of congressional duties, Stephanie was just reelected to serve as the co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, an 18 member group of Democrats who view themselves as fiscally responsible and centrist, with an emphasis on national defense.

Ilhan Omar

No Honor in Anonymity

Amidst all the perfunctory 11th hour constitutional defense that many Republicans engaged in, Ilhan was not yet ready to absolve them of culpability. It almost goes without saying that she supports the removal of the President, but moreover, she supports justice and accountability. And she argues that the last four years have seen nothing but complicit Republicans enabling the President’s behavior. So now when she sees them anonymously express regret, she’s calling them out saying it’s too late for that.

Elissa Slotkin

Communication Is Key

It seems whatever Elissa does in Congress, she keeps her constituents informed every step of the way. The events at the Capitol led her to call on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment for reasons she details in her official statement via an op-ed. She went on to outline why she supports impeachment if the 25th is not invoked, qualifying that while Congress has bigger fish to fry, the President must be held accountable for his actions in inciting violence. She cast her vote to impeach yesterday. Additionally, while most politicians are calling for unity among their constituents, Elissa is putting action to those words by holding virtual town halls to both explain her positions as well as listen to her voters. Indeed, in these tumultuous times, it seems one of the simplest and best practices is honest communication.

Haley Stevens

Get Out, Or We’ll Kick You Out

As the events were unfolding at the Capitol, Haley was one of the first to voice her support for the Vice President invoking the 25th Amendment in removing the President from office, and as settling dust gave way to a clearer yet more disturbing picture, Haley remained steadfast in her calls for his removal and voted to impeach the president yesterday. She noted the importance of her work as a member of the Obama transition team in successfully handing over power from one administration to the next, and how the violence incited from the top had simply become untenable.

Kelly Armstrong

Let’s Just Drop It, Shall We?

Kelly was among six Republicans, including fellow under-45ers Mike Gallagher and Nancy Mace to put out a letter prior to January 6 citing the reasons why they will NOT oppose the election certification. Congress’s job, it went on to say, is “to count the electors submitted by the states, not determine which electors the states should have sent.” After the events at the Capitol transpired, Kelly and his six colleagues remained committed to certifying the election for President-elect Biden, and amidst the introduction of a second impeachment, sent him a letter urging that he ask Speaker Pelosi to call off the impeachment in the spirit of national unity, which of course she didn’t. Do you agree with the letter these six wrote to Joe?

Dan Crenshaw

Plot Twist!

In one of the most surprising reversals we’ve seen, Dan made quite a 180 in policy position. Initially, he was one of 126 lawmakers who signed on to the Texas lawsuit attempting to get the Supreme Court to overturn the election results. Furthermore, he has been vigorous in his use of social media to message his constituents and beyond, with glossy yet provocative Instagram videos entitled “Georgia Reloaded” and the like. So it was all but a done deal that he’d vote to oppose the certification. And yet, he then comes out and says he will certify the election citing that the constitution mandates Congress COUNT the votes, not dispute them. He took to an Op-Ed to vehemently denounce the violence at the Capitol and even went so far as to lay much responsibility on Trump. Though he did not vote to impeach the president, to say this was a stunning reversal from one of the most ardent Republicans in Congress is an understatement. However, after the two weeks we’ve had, none of us should be surprised by much any more.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

The Right Side Of History

Even prior to the January 6th election certification and the horrific events that surrounded it, Anthony released a long letter to his constituents explaining why he would not contest the certification despite being a supporter of the President. His reasoning was similar to many fellow Republicans who cited unconstitutional grounds. As the day turned nightmarish, Anthony was immediate in his condemnation of the violence, and steadfast in his commitment to upholding the oath he swore just three days prior. Many of his colleagues from Ohio, however, were quite split on how they would vote and in the end, Anthony was one of the 10 Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching President Trump. It remains to be seen how some in his constituency will react to this in the long-term.

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

It’s Not Up To Us

Trey concluded 2020 by signing onto the Texas Election lawsuit challenge, but along the way into 2021 he reversed course and said he would not oppose the certification on January 6th. But what is less clear is the exact “when” in his shift. Trey was quick to issue an official statement via Twitter condemning the violence, and went on to certify the results that evening. He later tweeted out a video interview explaining how “The Constitution is explicit about the role and responsibilities of Congress, and that is to count the certifications of votes.” However, Trey did stick with the majority of Republicans in opposing impeachment yesterday. Also noteworthy from his week was that Trey wrote to Speaker Pelosi asking that she redirect all vaccines intended for him and his staff to instead go to susceptible Hoosiers in his home state.

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

Hold The Line

On the House floor prior to the breach, Brian pointedly asked the Speaker, “With pending Supreme Court cases, can you honestly answer that no laws were violated?” The remainder of his time was eaten up with a contentious back-and-forth, but what was planted firmly was his position and reasoning as to why he would vote to oppose the election certification—a position he retained even after the deadly events unfolded. As for those events, Brian called them “appalling and profoundly un-American” and criticized Trump’s leadership, but remained steadfast in his belief that opposing the certification was not only his constitutional duty but also the democratic process working. Yesterday, Brain took to the floor to oppose impeachment by asking a somewhat strange question – “Has any one of those individuals who brought violence to this Capitol been brought here to answer if they did that because of our president?”

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

It’s Not Us, It’s The States

As an ardent supporter of the President, William intended to oppose the election certification before all chaos broke out at the Capitol and, after condemning the attack as an act of domestic terrorism, followed through with his vote. After receiving pushback and criticism from some of his constituents, he issued a lengthier statement further explaining his reasoning, citing what he believes to be unconstitutional changes states (Arizona and Pennsylvania) made to their election laws in the days and weeks prior to the election. Perhaps most notable is that, while forcefully condemning the violence, William tweeted directly at the President, pleading with him to encourage the crowds to disburse immediately so that they could fulfill their business of objecting through the proper channels.

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

A Pledge Is A Pledge

Elise joined fellow New York Under-45ers Lee Zeldin and Nicole Malliotakis in pledging to vote against certification prior to the events that transpired at the Capitol, and upon reconvening, carried out her objection vote. In the interim, she condemned the violence over Twitter but did not issue an official press release. Earlier in the week, she detailed her position on objecting in an op-ed, citing a previous, similar opposition vote by Pelosi back in 2005 as precedent. While her actions have been met with support by some, others have not taken kindly to it. Currently setting Twitter ablaze is her removal from Harvard’s Kennedy School board, which said after her refusal to step down, acted in response to her false, widespread claims of voter fraud. She, in turn, issued a harsh statement on “Harvard’s bowing to the far-left”.

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

A Seafood Buffet of Removal Options

“Impeach. Expel. Remove.” was the caption accompanying Mondaire’s statement calling for Trump’s removal by impeachment, resignation or the 25th Amendment. He argued the President must go because he, along with his Republican co-conspirators, directly incited the insurrection against the Capitol. Mondaire also joined fellow Under-45er and Playlist newcomer Cori Bush in co-sponsoring legislation that would investigate and potentially expel fellow congressional leaders who helped incite what they say was an attempted coup. While certainly one of the more vocal new liberals in Congress, Mondaire extended the bipartisan hand to fellow Playlist newcomer Peter Meijer, praising him for his swift condemnation of the events and offering a working relationship.

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

Pissed.

In a lengthy series of tweets the day after the events at the Capitol, Nikema came out forcefully in favor of removing Donald Trump from office, joining the ranks of more than 200 Democrats and even Republicans now calling for such measures to take place. She insists that the threat he poses is immediate, and that he must be removed by the available means of the 25th Amendment or impeachment, which she eventually voted for. And, perhaps best summing up how so many of us feel, Nikema said “yesterday I was terrified. Today I’m pissed.” Insert clapping-hands-emoji here.

Lauren Boebert (R; CO-3)

On the Defensive

In the last couple of weeks, there doesn’t seem to be a fight that Lauren has backed down from, and after the deadly events at the Capitol, her tenacity to state her case has only intensified. She is perhaps one of the most polarizing figures featured on Political Playlist, and since last Wednesday has staked out a number of positions. She voted to oppose the election certification in her first fiery speech on the House floor, she condemned the violent attacks on the Capitol, she’s fought off a chorus of calls to resign, delivered an impassioned speech against impeachment (“I call bullcrap”) all while seemingly sending a buckshot of defense arguments over Twitter for her positions.

Josh Hawley

Long Ago, In A Country Far, Far Away…

It seemed inevitable that a young, good looking senator from Missouri would continue to bound into the new year as an early Republican front-runner for the 2024 Presidential race. But that all seems anyone’s guess now, as Josh found himself—or arguably positioned himself—in the eye of the inflection-point-storm that engulfed the Capitol last week. Josh was among the first leaders to join Senator Cruz’s efforts to object to the election certification, and it’s safe to say he doubled-down from there. On his way to the Capitol, the now-infamous fist-raising photo was taken, his team sent campaign fundraising texts while sheltering for safety during the Capitol siege, he returned to the floor looking shaken, but held to his convictions in opposing the certification, THEN he was dropped by his book publisher, scorned by a former mentor and local newspaper, excoriated by many of his constituents and donors, and has generally made political enemies with most of Congress. It’s a lot to process, and requires a much more in-depth reading than we’re able to provide here. But in our current age of political celebrity, could Josh have calculated this just right or did he hammer the nails into his own political coffin?

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

My First Week In Washington

Following the harrowing events that unfolded last week at our Nation’s Capitol, August took to a newspaper in his district to detail an official statement recounting all that transpired. As a former Air Force Colonel, he vehemently decried the acts of violence as having no place, and requiring prosecution to the fullest extent under the law. However, he did take issue with the integrity of our present election systems and the need, or rather duty, of Congress to question all manner of it in an effort to preserve and protect it. In August’s case, that meant returning to the floor and voting to oppose the certification. In closing, he walked a delicate line, calling for the country to move beyond this chapter (and voting against impeachment) while also chastising Democrats’ presumed future policies.

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

Low Profile?

In his first few days as a newly elected Congressman, Tracey isn’t exactly heeding the old adage of keeping a low profile as the new guy. He joined several Republican colleagues in signing a pledge to object to the election certification prior to the Capitol siege, and afterwards returned to the House Floor to uphold his pledged opposition vote. During the deadly events, he took to twitter to briefly condemn the violence, but did not put out an official press release until January 12th where, in opposing impeachment, he said, “I will not oversee the slow decline of our nation, but instead work to ensure a bright future for our children and grandchildren.” Several of his local newspapers have been harsh in their criticism of his first steps as a congressional leader, though it remains to be seen if he is in fact fulfilling the will of the folks who sent him to Washington in the first place.

Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-7)

Between A District and A Hardliner

Andrew was just sworn in to represent a district neighboring fellow Under-45er Lee Zeldin, who has been a vocal supporter of Trump and expressed a steadfast commitment to opposing the election certification. However, Andrew had not publicly staked out a position on this until he released an official statement on January 6th following the events at the Capitol. In it, he condemned the violence, expressed frustration and disapproval towards certain state’s processes and maneuvering, but ultimately stated unequivocally that it is not the role of Congress to determine the election. After voting to certify the results, he called for the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together. He did not vote to impeach the president and we’ll hold back on the ‘just give it a few more terms’ jokes…