South Carolina’s ranking Democrat in Congress, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, issued a damning rebuke of President Donald Trump and urged his colleagues to “protect the Constitution” Wednesday as the House of Representatives met to vote on the articles of impeachment.
“Today, we have a president who seems to believe he is a king or above the law,” Clyburn said to the assembled members of the House during the history-making hearing. “(Thomas) Paine warned us that so an unlimited power can belong only to God almighty.”
South Carolina’s Clyburn, the majority whip and third most powerful Democrat in the House, was one of a handful of lawmakers who spoke about impeachment on the House floor Wednesday morning.
Shortly before 10:30 a.m., the Columbia Democrat urged his colleagues to remember the oaths they took when they were sworn in.
“I rise today feeling the full weight of my duty as a member of this august body, reflected upon our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” Clyburn said. “It is my sincere belief that under the circumstances that bring us here today, there is only one path for us to take to fulfill that oath.”
The two articles of impeachment before the House accuse the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from accusations that Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Clyburn quoted Paine, one of the fathers of the American Revolution, choosing a line from “The American Crisis.”
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Clyburn quoted. “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”