U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher said President Trump lied to his supporters, but the Green Bay Republican is not convinced that impeachment is what is best for the country.
“The country is barely being held together right now. It’s a tinderbox,” Gallagher said in an interview Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Gallagher called Jan. 6, the day an angry pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building, “a day that will live in infamy.”
“I think all of us in public office have to consider what we can do, if nothing else, not to contribute to the cycle of escalation. I just worry that using the next 12 days to settle political scores, as opposed to reinforcing the peaceful transition of power, is not the right thing for the country right now,” he said.
Gallagher said he’s “angry, very angry” with his colleagues who “persisted in objecting, persisted in telling the American people a dangerous lie, that somehow Congress was going to overturn the results of the election on Jan. 6,” a lie he said Trump repeated at a rally Wednesday morning.
“The argument I heard behind closed doors by scores of my colleagues this week was a very cynical one. It was ‘we know this is bad precedent, we know it has no chance of succeeding, but we have to go along with it in order to pretend like we’re fighting, so we won’t get a primary challenge,’” Gallagher said.
He said neither impeachment nor invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office would bring the country together.
“We’ve all got to figure out what we can do to contribute to a little bit of national reconciliation, rather than political retribution,” he said.
Gallagher also recounted the moments when the mob was flooding the Capitol building.
“I never thought I would be sitting in my office, with the doors barricaded, talking with my two staffers there about whether we could use the Wisconsin flag, and the pole that it’s hanging on, as a defensive weapon in the event that rioters broke down the door. But that’s where we were on Wednesday,” he said. “And I’m still trying to think through what I can do to contribute to a more productive politics moving forward.”
Also on the program, La Crosse Dem Rep. Ron Kind spoke about being on the House floor when a “riotous mob” was growing louder and pressing on the doors of the chamber.
Capitol Hill security came in and rushed out members of leadership, he said.
“We really didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
“I tried helping to secure the middle doors with Capitol Hill security. But then, when we witnessed the guns being drawn and pointing at the doors, that’s when the cold sober reality set in for me that, my God, this could be a bloodbath, especially if they penetrate the House chamber, because I was convinced that those security officers would not only take a bullet for us, but they had their guns drawn and chances are they would have opened fire on that crowd, and God forbid that they didn’t penetrate the House chamber,” Kind said.
Kind said Trump “poses a clear and present danger to the security of our nation.”
“The right and decent and honorable thing for (Trump) to do is just to simply resign, allow Vice President Pence to handle the transition and the peaceful transfer of power, and that can happen immediately,” Kind said.
Barring that, Kind said, there are “serious discussions” about invoking the 25th Amendment and even a second impeachment.
He said those discussions might also “precipitate a resignation.”
“The real question is, are there enough Republicans in Congress that will go to the president asking for his resignation, or they will support articles of impeachment to remove him,” Kind said, comparing the situation to 1974 when Republicans forced President Richard Nixon to resign.
“What will my Republican colleagues do right now? It’s the Republicans in Congress who have the key to how we proceed these last 11 days,” Kind said.
In another segment, state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, expressed hope the Senate would pass a COVID-19 bill that Dem Gov. Tony Evers would sign.
“We feel that we’re really close,” he said.
LeMahieu said he continues to work with Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and called the Assembly’s COVID-19 bill “a good bill.”
“But what we’re looking to do in the Senate is find a bill, and this is our goal all along, that we’re confident the governor will sign, so that that way we can get that bill done for the state of Wisconsin,” he said.
LeMahieu also said he is disappointed with the way the Department of Health Services has rolled out the COVID-19 vaccines, and that Wisconsin ranks 10th out of 12 Midwestern states in vaccination rates. He said that is “frankly unacceptable at this point.”
See more from the program: http://www.wisn.com/upfront