By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Ted Lieu, a member of Congress representing California’s 33rd district, played a key role in the second impeachment of Donald Trump.
In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Lieu, an immigrant from Taiwan, wrote, “I was in my office on the fourth floor of the Cannon House Office Building on Jan. 6 when the Capitol Police entered around 1:15 p.m. to tell me and my chief of staff to evacuate immediately. The officers were running through each floor banging on office doors. They recommended that I remove the pin on my suit jacket that designates me as a member of Congress.”
He then detailed being taken to an underground tunnel and “watching the horror unfold on TV.”
“It was there, sheltering in place, fearing what a mob incited by Trump would do next, that Rep. [David] Cicilline [of Rhode Island] and I decided that we were going to try to impeach the president. Again.”
By a 232-197 vote, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives decided on Jan. 13 to impeach Trump a second time. Ten Republican lawmakers, including Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington state, voted in support of the article of impeachment.
“Impeachment and conviction would prevent Trump from ever menacing our country again through an elected position,” Lieu wrote. “Our article of impeachment specifically provides for ‘disqualification to hold and enjoy any office.’ And removal through impeachment would strip Trump of taxpayer-funded benefits like a pension, health insurance, office space, and staff.”
Lieu will serve as an impeachment manager during Trump’s pending Senate trial. A date for the trial—the first of a president no longer in office—has not yet been set.
For Trump to be convicted in the Senate, a two-thirds majority of senators must vote in favor. That means all 50 members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus and at least 17 Republicans would have to vote against the president.
No president has ever been convicted in a Senate trial, and GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is the only senator in U.S. history to have supported the conviction of a president from that lawmaker’s own party. Romney cast that vote last year, during Trump’s first impeachment trial, which ended in acquittal on Feb. 5, 2020.
Lieu has called out Republican leadership in the Senate for not moving quicker to start the trial. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly open to voting to convict Trump but dismissed the idea of starting the trial before the Senate reconvened on Jan. 19—one day before Joe Biden took office.
Lieu has been an outspoken critic of Trump and has made a virtual art form out of trolling him on Twitter—Trump’s favorite medium. In 2017, at the beginning of Trump’s presidency, Lieu’s personal Twitter account (@tedlieu) had fewer than 10,000 followers. It has since exploded to 1.5 million. The official @reptedlieu account is managed by his staff and is more restrained.
Lieu’s @tedlieu account often tweets in the style and language of Trump, with capital letters, exclamation points, and parentheses.
Lieu’s wife, Betty, told the Washington Post, “One of the reasons I married him was his sense of humor.”
Lieu’s family moved from Taiwan to the United States when he was 3. Lieu studied computer science at Stanford and he got his law degree from Georgetown Law School. He’s a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and a former military prosecutor.
“I previously served on active duty in the United States military, because I believe America is an exceptional country. I never thought that there would be an attempted coup that was incited by our very own commander in chief,” Lieu said.