In my line of work, sometimes planes crash. Investigators usually find a “chain of events” leading to the incidents. Like aircraft accidents, recent tragic events in our society have followed chains of events.
I tried to break links in some of those recent chains to avoid tragedy.
I wrote to Congressman Pete Stauber, R-Hermantown, and told him I thought the president should be impeached for the 10 possible cases of obstruction of justice in Volume Two of the Mueller Report. On May 15, 2019, Congressman Stauber wrote to me, “There is no evidence that President Trump has committed any crime while in office and we cannot impeach someone solely based on a difference of opinion.”
Later, the president asked Ukraine for a favor. Solicitation of bribery by the president is prohibited in the Constitution. I wrote my congressman again. On Oct. 18, 2019, he wrote me, “I am not serving in Congress to engage in political games.” The Ukraine issue turned into a House vote on impeachment. I called my congressman’s office and asked him to impeach. He voted no.
After the vote, he released this: “We have a Presidential election next year and the American people deserve to decide the outcome.”
We voted. In December, my congressman signed his name to an amicus brief as part of a doomed lawsuit challenging election results in four states not named Minnesota — a lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court said was “denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution” and refused to even hear. I called my congressman to tell him he shouldn’t have signed.
On Jan. 6, the president of the United States gave a speech in which he said, “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to the Capitol. Prior to that he said, “And we fight. We fight like hell.” Hours later, a mob violently attacked our U.S. Capitol, and five people were killed, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was a U.S. Air Force veteran.
I wrote and called Congressman Stauber on Jan. 7 and asked him to seek impeachment. Again.
On Friday, Jan. 8, my congressman was interviewed on WDSE-TV. He called the events of two days earlier “horrific” and said he was “disappointed” in the president’s rhetoric. He said, “The mob doesn’t rule the city of Minneapolis or St. Paul or Kenosha, Wisconsin, or New York City or our nation’s capital.” I agree. However, a mob that attacks our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., after being spurred on by the president, is not the same as a mob in Kenosha.
I swore the same oath for the U.S. Air Force that my congressman did, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I repeatedly have tried to help him stop these chains of events. He has repeatedly refused to do so.
So, I’ll try again now: Congressman Stauber should call on the president to resign. He should have voted to impeach. Like the rest of us, Congressman Stauber heard our president incite insurrection. The mob went on to kill a U.S. Capitol Police officer and defile our halls of government.
Congressman Stauber did not swear an oath to write bills and vote on legislation. He swore an oath to defend our Constitution. That takes priority over policy. If he does not act, he will have broken his oath.
Congressman Stauber is disappointed. So am I.
Eric Chandler is a commercial airline pilot who lives in Duluth. He is also a retired U.S. Air Force veteran with 145 combat sorties in the F-16.