WASHINGTON — More than 370 Democratic congressional aides issued an unusual public appeal on Wednesday, imploring senators — in some cases their own bosses — to convict former President Donald J. Trump for inciting a violent “attack on our workplace” that threatened the peaceful transition of power.
In a starkly personal letter, the staff members describe ducking under office desks, barricading themselves in offices or watching as they witnessed marauding bands of rioters who “smashed” their way through the Capitol on Jan. 6. Responsibility, they argue, lies squarely with Mr. Trump and his “baseless, monthslong effort to reject votes lawfully cast by the American people.”
“As congressional employees, we don’t have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our senators do,” they wrote. “And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again.”
A copy of the letter, including the names of the signatories, was shared with The New York Times before its release on Wednesday, four weeks after the attack and days before the Senate’s impeachment trial.
The letter, while in no way binding, underscored the remarkable dynamic surrounding Mr. Trump’s trial, in which many of the witnesses to and victims of the “incitement of insurrection” he is charged with are among the closest advisers to lawmakers who will decide his political fate. Congressional aides often provide counsel behind closed doors to the elected officials they serve, and many are authorized to speak on those officials’ behalf. But exceedingly rarely do they publicly express their own views — much less push for so stark a political and constitutional remedy as conviction in an impeachment trial.