Trump ‘ran out of non-violent options’ in desperate bid to cling to power, Democrats say

Democrats are arguing Trump's words directly led to violence

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 10 February 2021 22:06 GMT
Trump impeachment trial: First day summary

During day two of the impeachment trial, Democrats painted former President Donald Trump as a violent, desperate man pinned into a corner by his own refusal to admit defeat. They argued he “ran out of non-violent options” to stay in power even though he lost the election.

“Trump ran out of non-violent options,” California representative Ted Lieu, one of the Democratic House impeachment managers, said on Wednesday. “And finally, in his desperation, he turned on his own vice president. He pressured Mike Pence to violate his constitutional oath and to refuse to certify the oath.”

During his speech encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol, Mr Trump directly threatened the vice-president to adopt a dubious legal theory that if he objected to certifying the objection results, the president would win re-election.

"The radical left knows exactly what they’re doing. They’re ruthless and it’s time that somebody did something about it,” Mr Trump said at the time. “And Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”

When Mr Pence refused to overturn the legitimate election results, Mr Trump bashed him online, then reportedly didn’t contact him during the Capitol riot and for days afterwards. The vice-president returned the favour and didn’t attend Mr Trump’s goodbye ceremony, opting to observe the Inauguration instead.

Read more: Follow all the latest Trump impeachment news live

Mr Trump’s pressure on the vice president was just one of the pieces of evidence Democrats hoped would make the case that the former president was responsible for the riot. 

They also played a tape of Mr Trump’s call asking Georgia’s secretary of state to find “11,780 votes, which is one more than we have”, in an attempt to flip its election results. The call is now the subject of a criminal investigation in Georgia. 

Read more: Who are Trump's impeachment lawyers?

From the moment initial tolls came in showing Joe Biden in the lead, the president denounced the election results while insisting he actually won, launching more than 60 fruitless election lawsuits across the country, including before the Supreme Court, almost all of which he lost, and none of which proved any of his allegations of a compromised election.

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