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Perry to protesters calling for his resignation: 'No'

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry on Monday evening rejected demands that he resign following last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Perry's one-word comment came in a statement issued hours after protesters gathered at York City's Continental Square.

"No," Perry wrote in an email statement.

Earlier Monday, about 15 protesters, assembled by the progressive group Indivisible York, joined others throughout the country demanding the resignation of the 147 Republican members of Congress who on Wednesday objected to counting electors for President-elect Joe Biden and cast doubt on the country's electoral process.

The local protest came as the fallout continued from Wednesday's attack on Capitol Hill. Fueled by President Donald Trump's rhetoric — including false claims that the election was "stolen" from him — a mob of his supporters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol, driving lawmakers from the building. 

Trump's Republican supporters in Congress, such as Perry, a Republican from Carroll Township, exacerbated the situation by parroting Trump's baseless claims, critics allege. 

With signs reading "Trump and Perry must go" and "Expel Trump, Expel Perry," protesters in York City said Trump's Republican allies amplified the president's false claims about the election and fueled his supporters' anger.

"They know that it's a lie. They know that Biden won. And they have been fighting it simply as an excuse to overthrow the country," said Jon Page, of Glen Rock.

More:Trump faces charge of 'incitement of insurrection' in impeachment articles

More:Perry leads failed charge to oust Biden's Pennsylvania electors

A majority of Americans, 56%, believe Trump should be ousted prior to the end of his term, according to an ABC poll conducted in the aftermath of the Capitol siege. 

Though Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, also joined seven other House Republicans from Pennsylvania in objecting to their home state's electors, it was Perry who drew the ire of the protesters Monday in York City. That's because he played a significantly larger role in the attempt to delegitimize the election and overturn the voters, said Marta Peck, the lead organizer of Indivisible York.

On Wednesday — after the attack on the Capitol — Perry introduced the House's objections to Pennsylvania's election results. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., objected in the Senate.

Another rally is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the same location, organizers said.

On Monday, House Democrats introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, The Associated Press reported. The articles include a single charge: "incitement of insurrection."

A vote on whether to impeach Trump for the second time is expected this week, likely Wednesday.

Meanwhile, lawmakers who backed Trump's failed effort to overturn the election results in Congress are facing backlash at home.

Jerry West of Manchester Township, rallies at Continental Square Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, calling for Donald Trump and Congressman Scott Perry to be removed from office. The protest comes in response to last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The rally was organized by Indivisible York. Bill Kalina photo

"We are so furious at the insurrection, of the efforts to have a coup to overthrow the American democracy. I never thought in a lifetime we'd face this," Peck said.

She added that she doesn't expect Perry to resign. If he does not, she said, she'd like to see him expelled from the House or face some sort of sanctions.

Some Republican lawmakers, including Pennsylvania's Sen. Pat Toomey, also have called for Trump's resignation in recent days.

The backlash has hit Trump's Republican allies in their campaign coffers, too.

A growing number of the country's largest corporations have announced that they will no longer make financial donations to any member of Congress who objected to counting electors, reported CNN.

They include Blue Cross Blue Shield and Citigroup, both of which contributed thousands to the reelection bids of Perry and Smucker in the 2020 cycle, according to federal campaign finance reports. 

Indivisible York lead organizer Marta Peck holds a sign during a rally at Continental Square Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, calling for Donald Trump and Congressman Scott Perry to be removed from office. The protest comes in response to last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Bill Kalina photo

Smucker did not respond Monday to requests for comment.

In a Saturday statement, Perry acknowledged Biden would become president on Jan. 20, but he also repeated the baseless claims about voter fraud that have him and other Republicans under fire.

A "constitutional crisis" surrounding the results called for debate in Congress, Perry wrote, including claims about fraud "strong enough in both allegation and proof to at least warrant further investigation before certifying the electoral votes."

Trump's attorneys have repeatedly claimed they had evidence of fraud. But they failed to produce it in any of the dozens of state and federal court cases that followed, including at the U.S. Supreme Court. Perry has not produced any evidence of fraud.

In fact, Chris Krebs, Trump's own former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the election the “most secure in American history.”

Five people died at the pro-Trump march and the riot it become, including one Capitol Police officer. Among the dead was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was wounded in the chaos and died the next night, according to AP.

On Saturday, Yahoo News reported Howard B. Liebengood, another Capitol Police officer,died by suicide.

From left, Rob Picker of Manchester; Jon Page of Glen Rock, and Ryan Supler of York City, rally at Continental Square Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, calling for Donald Trump and Congressman Scott Perry to be removed from office. The rally comes in response to last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The rally was organized by Indivisible York. Bill Kalina photo

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is seeking a vote on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would declare Trump unfit to serve, according to AP.

If Pence refuses or lacks the votes among Trump's Cabinet members, House members would move forward with impeachment, she said. 

The House is mulling whether to hold off on sending the articles of impeachment, which are expected to pass the Democratic-run House, to the Senate until after Biden's first 100 days of presidency, The New York Times reported

By doing so, Democrats say, they could prevent lengthy Senate hearings from hampering the incoming president's first post-inauguration efforts.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.