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Forsyth opinions split on second Trump impeachment

Opinions on the second impeachment of President Donald Trump seemed to divide along party lines here just as they did in Congress on Wednesday, at least among some of those who are politically active.

Democrat Annette Scippio, who represents East Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council, said Trump deserves not only impeachment and removal from office, but time in jail as well.

"He should be arrested for inciting a riot and should get prison time," Scippio said. "Words are powerful. What you say has a lot of weight. Something inspired those people to come to the capital, to be armed to do harm. What we saw was an out-of-control mob of people. All leaders are accountable for the behavior of the people they lead."

Terri Mrazek, the president of Forsyth County Republican Women, went to Washington on Jan. 6 to show her support for Trump, but didn't go inside the capitol. Mrazek said the vast majority of people at the event were peaceful, and that Trump himself told people to be peaceful in his remarks to the crowd.

"I don't feel our president should be responsible for anyone's else's actions," Mrazek said, adding that to her, Trump's remarks were "calm." Mrazek, like many other in the GOP, believes that there were leftist infiltrators at the event who caused trouble. Federal investigators say they have no evidence that was the case. 

Kevin Farmer, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Forsyth County, said Trump will now be remembered as the only president to be impeached twice.

"Bullies and demagogues who foment hatred and violence should not be allowed to walk away unscathed from the consequences," Farmer said. "As a sitting president, Donald Trump incited an act of domestic terrorism."

Farmer said the impeachment "is not justice, but it's a start."

Linda Petrou, a Forsyth County resident who sits on state GOP's central committee called impeachment "a major mistake" that would end up hurting the Biden administration.

"I think it will tear this country apart even further," Petrou said. I'm really afraid of what is coming if this happens. They have been after Donald Trump from the minute he came down the escalator, and they will do anything to get rid of him. It is just insanity. Joe Biden has a narrow majority and he is going to need Republicans. I'm scared."

Petrou said his take on Jan. 6 was that "Trump was being Trump" when he spoke to supporters.

"Trump is always outrageous," she said. "But he did say go peacefully."

Former Winston-Salem City Council Member Dan Besse said that Trump "unquestionably" committed impeachable offenses, but questions whether it is likely to be productive because "there is clearly no way that a Senate trial could be started and completed before he is out of office."

"I am perfectly happy to see him investigated, indicted and if convicted imprisoned, but that would have to be undertaken in a criminal court process and not an impeachment trial."

Besse said the most important thing is for incoming President Joe Biden to get started on his administrative priorities, including work on the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.

Congressional representatives serving districts in the Triad were also weighing in on Wednesday.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th, condemned the rioters who invaded the capitol and called for their full prosecution, and said Trump should have forcefully condemned them as well.

But McHenry said impeachment of Trump with less than a week to go in his term is "simply absurd," and said he would vote against impeachment.

No members of North Carolina's GOP delegation in the U.S. House were among the 10 Republicans who joined 222 Democrats in voting for impeachment on Wednesday.

Rep. Kathy Manning, D-6th, said Trump had lied to his supporters and the American people about the 2020 election, and that he had proven himself "unfit to lead our nation and unable to discharge the duties of his office." 

Rep. Ted Budd, R-13, condemned the rioters in a statement that made no mention of Trump's actions. But Budd accused Democrats of "ratcheting up the political volume" at a time when people should be calling for "calm and peace."

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, whose district formerly included Forsyth County, said "Joe Biden is the President-Elect. Period." She appealed for Trump to recognize Biden's victory, but called the impeachment effort a "snap" process that would make it harder for the country to unify.

D.D. Adams, Council Member for Winston-Salem's North Ward, said she is glad to see Trump impeached, but that the country's problems go far beyond Trump and include "those who have sat up counting the coins of their wealth from ... the free labor of African American and indigenous folks."

If Blacks had done what the mostly-white crowd at the capitol had done, Adams said, "they would be counting bodies."

"I feel like impeachment is a beginning but this man needs to be tried for high crimes," she said. "I'm glad to see this, but it won't change things overnight."

Joyce Krawiec, a Republican who represents part of Forsyth County in the N.C. Senate, called the impeachment effort "a political show."

"I think that everything that happened last week was atrocious and completely inappropriate," she said. "(Trump) said go to the capitol and peacefully protest. I don't think you can say he was encouraging them to riot."

Fleming El-Amin, a Democratic member of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, said he approves of impeachment "without question."

"I taught civics and economics for decades at Glenn High School, and one of the first things you teach is that no man is above the law. And the Constitution is the supreme law of the land."

Anne Wilson, long active in the Democratic Party here, said Trump deserves removal from office because he has "blood on his hands" from those who died in the mayhem at the capitol.

Wilson said the size of Trump's following means "we are going to see the repercussions from this monster for a long time to come."

State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who hails from Forsyth, didn't stake out a stand on impeachment, but said he's praying for the success of the federal government. 

"As keeper of the public purse, I'm concerned with the erosion of trust in our system," he said.

And District Attorney Jim O'Neill, who spoke at a Trump rally in Winston-Salem last year during his unsuccessful race for N.C. Attorney General, did not say how he felt about impeachment.

O'Neill did say that elected officials should focus on getting COVID-19 vaccines out more quickly and rebuilding the economy, "instead of constantly fighting one another."


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