PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Senate’s acquittal of President Trump on two articles of impeachment officially brought the trial to an end but hundreds of people in Portland still gathered in a public display of opposition.
Nearly 300 people gathered on Wednesday along the Hawthorne Bridge, holding signs and calling on lawmakers and voters to hold the president accountable. The rally was organized by Indivisible Oregon and Stand on Every Corner PDX.
“It’s very clear the Senate is complicit and they are trying to aid Trump in his cover-up,” said Kate Sharaf, a leader with Stand on Every Corner PDX.
Some held signs demanding Trump’s removal from office while others carried miniature versions of the large “Baby Trump” balloon. One protester, Eric Meyer, is a lawyer who told KOIN 6 News he felt the need to speak out about the way the Senate trial was conducted.
“I’m out here because I think what happened in Washington today was a disgrace,” Meyer said. “I’m a trial lawyer. If I were to suggest to any judge that a trial should be held without witnesses and without evidence, I would be laughed out of court and probably disbarred.”
The protesters said because of what they learned during the Senate trial, they’re supportive of new legislation announced by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley that would require witnesses to be heard at future impeachment trials.
“I hate that it’s necessary but I think it’s a good idea,” said Caely Barrett with Indivisible Oregon. “I think this administration is showing us that a lot of things that have been, in the past, governed by goodwill and norms need to be made more explicit.”
Merkley said he will introduce legislation next week to require the Senate to consider evidence and hear from witnesses in future impeachment trials. A trial without witnesses, he said, is not a fair and full trial, and the Senate failed its constitutional responsibility.
“I feel regretful that we aren’t successfully defending our democracy right now, knowing how hard the forefathers, mountain men and women fought to create our nation,” said protester Holly Montufar.
But those at the rally are hopeful the acquittal won’t be the final word in the impeachment chapter.
“The fight isn’t over, we are still going to keep pushing for the truth,” said Barrett.
“We reject the cover-up,” Sharaf said. “The American people want Trump removed and we will remember in November.”
Oregon lawmakers weighed in on the Senate vote. Both Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden voted to convict Trump, as did both senators from Washington state, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
Wyden said he hopes “our democracy is strong enough to survive this shameful result.”
Murray said it’s unacceptable for a president — now or ever — to ask a foreign country to interfere in our election for their own benefit.
Retiring Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon’s lone Republican in Congress, couldn’t vote but said the House impeachment managers failed to prove the existence of any criminal offense.
But Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said, “Acquitting Trump without a fair trial sets a dangerous precedent for current and future Presidents to exploit. History will judge the Senate for failing to uphold its Constitutional duty to provide checks and balances.”