The Guardian

‘Not going to lose my son and my republic’: Jamie Raskin on Trump impeachment

House Democrat leading the impeachment remembers his son Trump’s trial could start immediately after Biden takes powerUS politics – live coverage Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP Jamie Raskin, the House Democrat leading the impeachment of Donald Trump, remembered his son Tommy on Sunday and said: “I’m not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021. It’s not going to happen.” Tommy Raskin, a Harvard law student who struggled with depression, died on New Year’s Eve. He was 25. His father, a constitutional law professor and representative from Maryland, was this week named as lead impeachment manager for Trump’s second Senate trial. The president was impeached for the second time for inciting the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, in which five people died, to further his baseless claim that the election was stolen. Trump’s trial could start immediately after Joe Biden takes power on Wednesday. Raskin discussed the impeachment on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. He was also asked about his son. “Tommy was a remarkable person,” he said. “He had overwhelming love for humanity and for our country, in his heart, and really for all the people of the world. We lost him on the very last day of that God awful year, 2020, and he left us a note, which said ‘Please forgive me, my illness won today, look after each other, the animals and the global poor for me, all my love Tommy.’ “And that was the last act in a life that dazzled.” People were asking, he said, why he agreed to take on such a senior role in the impeachment trial at such a difficult time. “First of all,” he said, with a laugh, “I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to say no to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi about anything. She’s actually been very sensitive and thoughtful but she wanted me to do it because she knows that I’ve devoted my life to the constitution and to the republic. I’m a professor of constitutional law, but I did it really with my son in my heart, and helping lead the way. I feel him in my chest. “When we went to count the electoral college votes and [the Capitol] came under that ludicrous attack, I felt my son with me and I was most concerned with our youngest daughter and my son in law, who is married to our other daughter, who were with me that day and who got caught in a room off of the House floor. “In between them and me was a rampaging armed mob, that could have killed them easily and was banging on the doors where they were hiding under a desk with my chief of staff, Julie Tagen. “These events are personal to me. There was an attack on our country, there was an attack on our people.” Asked how he could deal with such “trauma on top of trauma”, Raskin said: “I’m not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021. It’s not going to happen. “And the vast majority of American people, Democrats, Republicans and independents, reject armed insurrection and violence as a new way of doing business in America. We’re not going to do that. “This was the most terrible crime ever by a president of the United States against our country. And I want everybody to feel the gravity and the solemnity of those events at the same time of course that all of us are deeply invested in President-elect Biden, and Vice-President-elect [Kamala] Harris, moving the country forward.” According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans under the age of 25 have considered suicide since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Raskin was asked if he had a message for people dealing with depression either personally or in family members. “We don’t want to lose anybody else,” he said. “We’ve been hearing from thousands and thousands of people across the country and if any of them are out there, thank you for your kindness to our family.” He added that the family had “set up the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals, which now has more than $400,000 in it, his classmates at Harvard Law School raised $5,000 or $6,000 so that the causes he believed in would keep going. “But we don’t have to wait for people to die for people to listen to them. We can listen to you right now.” In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for support. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.



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