Massachusetts Republicans decry Capitol violence, buck Trump impeachment

Tom Mountain brought in his Trump sign this week and hung up his Trump jacket.

He doesn’t think he’ll be showing off either again anytime soon.

To Mountain, the vice chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee and an ardent supporter of the president who served as a campaign spokesman here, the Trump era ended when Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory early Thursday after an hours-long disruption as rioters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol building.

Mountain, like many Bay State Republicans and the MassGOP organization, has condemned the deadly violence.

But as the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation calls for Trump to be removed from power — either through impeachment or the 25th Amendment — Mountain and other Republican leaders in Massachusetts aren’t going that far.

“Donald Trump did not incite this riot. He did not tell his supporters to go in and take over the Capitol and break windows and barge in,” Mountain said. “He told them to go up to the Capitol, but he didn’t tell them to go inside the Capitol and take it over.”

Mountain said that instead of trying to impeach Trump in the final days of his presidency — Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 — Democrats just have to “run out the clock.”

“Any talk of impeachment is just ridiculous,” Mountain said. “They tried this before and it didn’t work. Now they want to do it in the last days of the Trump presidency? It’s really absurd and I think the American people will see it as absurd.”

House Democrats are rushing to impeach Trump before his term expires, and could file an article as soon as Monday. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., co-led an impeachment resolution with fellow “squad” member U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that was introduced Thursday. U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Lori Trahan said they’ve co-sponsored impeachment resolutions by both Omar and a trio of other representatives.

But state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk — who wrote on Facebook that he was “ashamed of our President for encouraging this behavior” by the rioters and felt “guilty for not condemning more of his nonsense in the past” — told the Herald that Democrats’ efforts are “purely for show” and warned they could further divide an already polarized nation.

“It took them nine months to figure out whether we were going to give away $600 or $2,000. If they think they can pull this other thing off within a week — I just don’t see Washington working that judiciously,” Dooley said. “These are just unfortunate sound bites and all it does is it adds to the division.”

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who refused to back both of Trump’s presidential bids, said Trump should “step down” but did not directly call for impeachment.

“I think people should pursue whatever they believe would make it possible in the most expeditious way possible for the president to step down and the vice president to assume the powers of the office for the next 14 days so that an orderly transition can take place,” Baker said in a Thursday press conference.

State Rep. Lenny Mirra, R-Georgetown, put the focus on prosecuting those who committed crimes at the Capitol and said he was working with colleagues on Beacon Hill to “step up the penalties for people who engage in rioting.”

“What happened Wednesday is criminal and criminal behavior like that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Mirra said.

Lou Murray, a former Trump surrogate and Boston Ward 20 Republican chairman who traveled to D.C. to rally for the president, condemned the violence — as Trump has — and offered prayers for the officer who died, but said “Trumpism” remains the future of the GOP.

“Trumpism was a rejection of the elites’ managed decline of America,” Murray said. “Trump’s America-first policies of more opportunity, border safety, trade, U.S. manufacturing, and stopping Bush/Obama endless wars — this is the future of the GOP.”

— Sean Philip Cotter contributed to this report.

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