Gay Democrat David Cicilline says Donald Trump is ‘singularly responsible’ for Capitol insurrection

Impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline speaks on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial

David Cicilline, the gay Democrat serving as an impeachment manager in Donald Trump’s Senate trial, delivered blistering opening arguments against the former president.

The Rhode Island Democrat, who is co-chair of the Congressional LGBT+ Equality Caucus and one of just eight out LGBT+ lawmakers to sit in the House, is part of the team of impeachment managers presenting the case to the Senate for the former president’s conviction on grounds of inciting insurrection.

Cicilline, who was lead sponsor of the article of impeachment, is helping to put the case for conviction to the Senate after the chamber voted by 56 to 44 on Tuesday (9 February) that the effort is still valid despite Trump’s exit from office.

Delivering his opening arguments, the Democratic lawmaker sought to shut down suggestions that the impeachment should be pulled.

Impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline speaks on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial

Impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline speaks on the first day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial (Congress/Getty)

He said: [Trump’s lawyers] will say, I expect, that you should dismiss this case so that the country can move on.

“They’ll assert that this impeachment is partisan, and that the spirit of bipartisanship and bipartisan cooperation requires us to drop the case and march forward in unity.

People died and Trump is singularly responsible for inciting it.

“With all due respect, every premise and every conclusion of that argument is wrong.

“Just weeks ago, the president of the United States literally incited an armed attack on the Capitol, our seat of government, while seeking to retain power by subverting an election he lost, and then celebrated the attack.

“People died, people were brutally injured, and president Trump is singularly responsible for inciting it.”

David Cicilline explains why Trump must be held responsible.

Pressing his case against the leader, David Cicilline continued: “Donald J Trump was president of the United States. He sought to overturn a presidential election that had been upheld by every single court to consider it.

“He spent months, insisting to his base that the only way he could lose was a dangerous, wide-ranging conspiracy against them, and America itself.

“He relentlessly attempt to persuade his followers that the peaceful transfer of power that was taking place in the Capitol was an abomination that had to be stopped at all costs.”

Cicilline continued: “He then failed to defend the Capitol, the Congress and the vice president during the insurrection, engaging in extraordinary dereliction of duty and desertion of duty that was only possible because of the high office he held.

“He issued statements during the insurrection targeting the vice president, and reiterating the very same lies about the election that had launched the violence in the first place.

“And he issued a tweet, five hours after the capitalist sacked, in which he sided with the bad guys.

“We all know the context matters, that office and meaning and intent and consequences matter. Simply put it matters when and where and how we speak. The oaths we swore and the power we hold matter.

“President Trump was not impeached because he used words that the House decided are forbidden, or unpopular. He was impeached for inciting armed violence against the government of the United States of America.”

If convicted by the Senate, Trump could be barred from seeking office again.

However, a conviction would require 16 Republicans and every Democrat to back the impeachment effort. The high bar is unlikely to be reached, given only six Republicans voted for the trial to go ahead.

David Cicilline was the first out gay mayor of a US state, presiding over Providence, Rhode Island, from 2003 to 2011. After winning election to the House of Representatives in 2010, Cicilline became the fourth out gay member of Congress.