WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) released the following statement:
There are not enough angry words in the English language to adequately condemn the violent attack on the Capitol, and in turn our democracy, on January 6th. The right to peacefully assemble is an essential part of our Constitution—one that is frequently exercised in Washington, D.C. by groups on both sides of political issues—but the moment that barricades were torn down, police officers were assaulted and our Capitol was laid siege to, the Constitutionally-protected assembly became wholly un-American, wholly un-Constitutional and wholly illegal. Each and every perpetrator of this crime must be held accountable and should turn themselves in.
As to the issue of removing President Trump from office, I agree with Vice President Pence that these consequential tools—the 25th Amendment and impeachment—are not a means of “punishment or usurpation” but require very specific thresholds to be met. In the case of the 25th Amendment, the standard is that the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” and in the case of impeachment that standard is “Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While I believe allowing the violence-inciting comments by Rudy Giuliani to go unchecked demonstrated a serious lack of leadership, I do not believe this conduct rises to the standard necessary for invoking the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
I also agree with Vice President Pence that these actions by Congress threaten to further divide and inflame our nation at a time when all of us—Republicans and Democrats—should be attempting to lower the temperature. Regardless of the actions taken by Congress today, however, former Vice President Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States and will take office in just a few days’ time. I will undoubtedly disagree with him numerous times in the years to come, and when I do, I will say so loudly. Then, we will vote, and at no point will the policy of this nation be set by any who attempt to force their will violently.