In opposing impeachment, Rep. Steve Scalise quotes Lincoln, promotes ‘healing’

‘I’ve seen the dark evil of political violence firsthand’

By: - January 13, 2021 3:27 pm
Steve Scalise

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (Getty Images)

Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Republican Whip who represents Louisiana’s First Congressional District, quoted Abraham Lincoln Wednesday and called for healing as pushed back against Democrats’ motion to impeach President Donald Trump a second time.

Scalise, who was shot in 2017 by a gunman targeting Republicans and saved by U.S. Capitol Police, praised the officers from that department and called on his colleagues to decry all political violence without partisanship.

Scalise was given three minutes to speak from the floor of the House.  What follows are his remarks in full.

“Madam Speaker, our nation still mourns the unacceptable violence and anarchy that took place in this capital last week. Arrests are still being made, and the anarchists who stormed our Capitol are being brought to justice — as should be the case. Emotions are still high, but in this moment, we need to be focused on toning down the rhetoric and helping heal this nation.

“As we move toward a peaceful transition of power to President- elect Joe Biden next week, my prayers, Madam Speaker, are still with Capitol Police Officer (Brian) Sicknick and (Howard) Liebengood, who we lost, as well as all of the Capitol Police officers who risked their lives to keep us safe. They are true heroes, and they deserve all of our applause today.



“Madam Speaker, I’ve seen the dark evil of political violence firsthand. And it needs to stop. But all of us need to be unequivocal in calling it out every single time we see it, not just when it comes from the other side of the aisle. I oppose this rushed impeachment brought forward without a single hearing. And by the way, the Senate will not even take this up until President Trump is out of office. So let’s keep that in mind. It will only serve to further divide a nation that is calling out for healing.

“Madam Speaker, many speakers today have invoked one of our nation’s greatest leaders, President Abraham Lincoln. Maybe we should follow some of Lincoln’s wisdom that he’s imparted upon us in moments like this. As Abraham Lincoln was giving his second inaugural address in March of 1865, Lincoln issued us a challenge. This is what he said:  With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all, which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all our nations. 

“Madam Speaker, in times like these, let us let us not reach out to our darkest demons, but instead, like Lincoln, seek the higher ground. May God bless this great United States of America.”


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Jarvis DeBerry
Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.