Demonstrators Gather Across Southwestern Pennsylvania To Support Impeachment

Dec 18, 2019

The night before the House is scheduled to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump, crowds gathered across southwestern Pennsylvania to show support for impeachment. Many found Trump’s actions so impeachable, they were shocked when 90.5 WESA asked why they chose to attend.

“The bribery, the corruption, the cover-up, collusion – come on really, there's a real question here?” said Michele Cunko of Mt. Washington, who attended a rally at the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh. “The only question is: are the senators, when they get to their turn, going to vote their conscience? Or are they going to worry about any support they might get from the GOP?”

“We’re losing our democracy,” said attendee Tom Hutchison of Braddock Hills. “And the only way to start to get it back is to get rid of this crook.”

Simultaneously in Mt. Lebanon, Democrats rallied outside U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-17)’s Mt. Lebanon office to show their support for the moderate Democrat, who announced last week he would back impeachment.

Hundreds of people lined both sides of Route 19 outside the district office. As passing cars honked in support, demonstrators alternately celebrated Lamb -- "Conor has honor!" was one rallying cry -- and castigated Trump with a slogan taken from his own rallies: "Lock him up!" 

Lamb had kept a low profile on impeachment throughout the fall, but last week announced he would vote in favor of it. That heartened many Democrats.

Credit Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

"Even where he might be more conservative than I am, he upholds the law. He upholds his oath to the constiution," said Laurie Cohen, a McDonald resident who has been protesting "on almost a weekly basis," since Trump's election. She and her husband "have six children between us and two grandchildren, and I want to say to them I did everything I could to stand up for what is right."

None of the demonstrators expected the Senate to remove Trump, and many acknowledged that voting for impeachment was a political risk for Lamb: His district includes Allegheny County suburbs and Beaver County, and Trump narrowly won those communities in 2016. Still, they said impeachment was the only course Democrats could take, given Trump's conduct.

Trump "has done all these things that have degraded the presidency, and if he isn't punished for it, it's going to set a precedent" for Trump's successors, said Mt. Lebanon resident Charlie Jones. "The Senate Republicans can choose to do the wrong thing. But you have to do the right thing, and the right thing is to vote for impeachment." 

Rallies also took place at county courthouses in Westmoreland, Washington, and Beaver counties. They were all part of a nationwide effort by the left-leaning organization MoveOn to organize pro-impeachment events on the eve of the House vote.

Last week, the articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – were passed out of the House Judiciary committee along party lines and sent to the full House for a vote. By Monday, all nine Democrats in Pennsylvania’s 18-member Congressional delegation had said they would vote to impeach Trump.

In western Pennsylvania, Republicans Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler have strongly condemned the inquiry, calling the investigation a “sham.” Democrat Mike Doyle has long supported the investigation, calling for an inquiry in June. While there have been questions about how moderate Democrats who represent districts Trump won will vote on impeachment, most have, Like Lamb, said they would vote with the rest of their party. 

Chris Potter contributed to this story.