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Sen. Grass­ley says Trump can’t lead Repub­li­can Party

‘I didn’t know how bad’ ri­ots were, he says

- Bri­anne Pfan­nen­stiel and Tony Leys US Elections · U.S. News · US Politics · Society · Politics · Elections · Republican Party Politics · Charles Grassley · Donald Trump · Republican Party (United States) · Iowa · United States of America · Homeland · Department of Homeland Security · Democratic Party (United States) · Congress of the United States · Joe Biden · United States Senate · Electoral college · Ted Cruz · Texas · Missouri · Washington · Newton · Joni Ernst · U.S. Electoral College

NEW­TON, Iowa – Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, R-Iowa, said Mon­day that even if Don­ald Trump is not im­peached, the out­go­ing pres­i­dent has tar­nished his legacy and lost au­thor­ity.

“Right now, there’s very lit­tle op­por­tu­nity for him to lead the Repub­li­can Party,” Grass­ley said af­ter a town hall.

In the wake of last week’s at­tack on the U.S. Capi­tol, the pres­i­dent has been roundly crit­i­cized for not tamp­ing down the vi­o­lence, which left five peo­ple dead. High-pro­file Trump ap­pointees quit their jobs early, in­clud­ing act­ing Sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity Chad Wolf on Mon­day. Democrats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in­tro­duced an im­peach­ment ar­ti­cle against the pres­i­dent.

Asked whether he sup­ports im­peach­ing the pres­i­dent a sec­ond time, Grass­ley said Congress should fo­cus on the in­com­ing pres­i­dent.

“I think that Pres­i­dent Bi­den’s go­ing to want the Se­nate to spend their time, at least near term, get­ting his Cabi­net ap­proved ... but longer term, get what­ever is on his agenda,” he said. “And I’m look­ing for­ward to what that agenda is.

You heard me say to­day that I hope he’s got some­thing on pre­scrip­tion drugs that he wants to ac­com­plish, be­cause I want to help him.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Mon­day she is skep­ti­cal of the ef­fort to im­peach Trump.

Ernst said it’s time for the na­tion to be­gin to heal.

“Let’s move on. Let’s get Pres­i­dent Bi­den into place,” she said.

“Let’s get the new ad­min­is­tra­tion go­ing, and let’s start heal­ing our na­tion.”

Grass­ley and Ernst were vo­cal sup­port­ers of the pres­i­dent through­out his term and re­elec­tion cam­paign.

Last week, both se­na­tors voted against ob­jec­tions to Elec­toral Col­lege votes from bat­tle­ground states that went for Joe Bi­den. Ernst said Congress’ ap­proval of such votes is clearly re­quired by the Con­sti­tu­tion.

She in­di­cated she wouldn’t fa­vor ex­pelling or cen­sur­ing Repub­li­can se­na­tors, in­clud­ing Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Haw­ley of Mis­souri, who led ef­forts to ob­ject to the votes.

But, she said, “I think his­tory will not look kindly upon those that ab­di­cated their con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­i­ties.”

Ernst said it was “hor­ri­fy­ing” to be in the Se­nate cham­bers last week as hun­dreds of ri­ot­ers ram­paged through the build­ing.

The Iowa Repub­li­can said she led two young Se­nate pages to safety as Capi­tol Po­lice tried to hold off the in­sur­rec­tion­ists last Wed­nes­day.

“To every­body that thinks, ‘Oh, well, that was OK, they just were a lit­tle ex­u­ber­ant’ – no, this was anar­chy,” Ernst said.

The ri­ot­ers should be pros­e­cuted, she said.

“They were ter­ror­iz­ing old men and young girls. I don’t know how any­body can be proud about the ac­tions that they took.”

Grass­ley, who is third in line to the pres­i­dency as Se­nate pres­i­dent pro tem­pore, said he was ush­ered out of the Se­nate cham­ber last week by po­lice of­fi­cers be­fore he knew any­thing had gone wrong.

“The way we went out the back door and down the steps and through the tun­nels to get to the car, I didn’t see any of th­ese ri­ot­ers,” he said.

“I didn’t know how bad it was un­til we got to the se­cure place.”

Watch­ing the ri­ots un­fold on tele­vi­sion, Grass­ley said he kept think­ing, “How can this be hap­pen­ing?”

Ernst drew par­al­lels be­tween the peo­ple who com­mit­ted vi­o­lence at the Capi­tol and peo­ple who marred Black Lives Mat­ter protests with vi­o­lence last sum­mer. Many peo­ple who came to Washington last week to protest the elec­tion re­sults took no part in the vi­o­lence, she said.

“There were peace­ful parts. And then there were parts that are ab­hor­rent,” she said.

 ?? KELSEY KRE­MER/USA TO­DAY NET­WORK ?? Ev­ery year, Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, R-Iowa, sets out to visit 99 coun­ties to meet with Iowans. He says he was shocked by the riot at the U.S. Capi­tol last week and kept ask­ing him­self, “How can this be hap­pen­ing?”
KELSEY KRE­MER/USA TO­DAY NET­WORK Ev­ery year, Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, R-Iowa, sets out to visit 99 coun­ties to meet with Iowans. He says he was shocked by the riot at the U.S. Capi­tol last week and kept ask­ing him­self, “How can this be hap­pen­ing?”

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