December 5, 2021

Region’s residents weigh in on impeachment vote

Photo by Casey Austin/contributing photographer

Main Street in Cortland is seen from the roof of the Cortland Standard. File Photo.

Here is what people in the greater Cortland area had to say about President Donald Trump’s impeachment Wednesday:

Alyssa Golden, Fabius
Alyssa Golden, 17, of Fabius, said President Trump should be impeached.

“I hope Donald Trump gets impeached. He is such a horrible president. He’s done a lot of horrible things, including separating families of undocumented immigrants,” Golden said. “I hope that he leaves.”

Charlie Wilson, Ithaca
Charlie Wilson of Ithaca, who was in Cortland working on a consulting job at SUNY Cortland Wednesday, said he supported the vote to impeach Trump.

“I think it is important that we recognize the constitutional threat the administration is posing,” he said. “I really think it is an existential threat.”

Wilson compared the “communications techniques” and “manipulation of public opinion” by Trump and his defenders to the Nazi Party in 1930s.

“They were very systematic in creating a consistent alternate reality …even when the facts were demonstrably different from the party viewpoint,” he said.

He acknowledged that this comparison “makes a lot of people nervous” because “it seems like an extreme comparison.”

But Wilson said open defiance of the courts and Congress is only possible because of this alternate media reality.

“It’s very dangerous,” he said. “I think we’re in a very dangerous time.”

Linda Hatch, Groton
“I don’t agree with the impeachment,” said Linda Hatch of Groton. “I just think that they don’t have enough proof that he did anything wrong.”

Hatch, a Republican and Trump voter, said the rough transcript of a phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelinsky does not prove any wrongdoing, but she said she had not read the transcript herself.

Regarding the obstruction charge, she said she thought the president could invoke some kind of privilege to shield his administration from subpoenas.

“I thought they (presidents) could protect themselves, basically,” she said.

In the long run, Hatch thinks the impeachment effort will lead to impeachment becoming a regular tool to use against future presidents.

“I think they’re using impeachment in a way that it should not be used,” she said.

Dave Aestle, Virgil
Dave Aestle, 63, of Virgil, said that while he supports the impeachment of the president, partisanship has gotten in the way of the process.

“The thing that’s upsetting me the most is there doesn’t seem to be few impartial people,” he said. “It’s become way too political and it shouldn’t be a political thing. One group is saying you (President Trump) broke the law and the the other group is saying he didn’t break the law. What does the law say?”

Terry Howell, Homer
Terry Howell of Homer said the impeachment process is an important part of upholding the Constitution and that she doesn’t agree with Trump has been saying.

“I don’t think what he’s been saying is professional,” she said.

However, she said she wishes the impeachment hadn’t gone on because officials need to focus on other issues like healthcare or education.

“I just wish they spent more time, money and effort doing stuff for citizens of the United States,” she said. “This is costing millions of dollars doing this.”

Maxine Cleveland, Homer
Maxine Cleveland, of Homer, said she’s happy the impeachment process happened.

“If we don’t (go through the process) it will set a precedent for presidents to become dictators or kings,” she said, noting Americans fought the Revolutionary War to get away from that kind of thing.

She also said Trump should be removed from office and that what he has done could open the door for future meddling by other nations in U.S. elections.

“It undermines democracy,” she said.

Arthur Ward, Cortland
Arthur Ward, 86, of Cortland, said the impeachment process was getting in the way of President Trump’s work.

“I think the whole thing is ridiculous. I think they should leave Trump alone and let him do his job,” he said.

Staff reporters S.N. Briere, Travis Dunn and Colin Spencer contributed to this report.

How they voted

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) voted for both articles of impeachment. Brindisi issued this statement: “President Trump is my president, too. I’ve always said I would work with him to get things done for American families. Recently, President Trump signed my first bill into law to extend key programs to our nation’s Veterans. Soon the president will sign my legislation to require the military to purchase American-made flatware, like the kind produced at Sherrill Manufacturing, and a first of its kind Fentanyl Sanctions Act to crack down on illicit fentanyl coming from China. I’ve worked with this administration to bring about a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada that will help our farmers and protect our workers. I will always vote my conscience, put our country first, and support the rule of law. Today I am what I have always been, a person privileged to live in the greatest democracy in history. It is with profound sadness I cast my vote today; however,
I voted not as Democrat or Republican but as an American who has been given this responsibility by the community I love. The Constitution, the rule of law, respect for justice and individual dignity have standards and therefore must be subject to accountability.”

Rep. Tom Reed (R- Corning) voted against both counts of impeachment.