WASHINGTON — From a corner of the Senate chamber last week, Delegate Stacey Plaskett, the congressional representative from the Virgin Islands, was struck by the poignancy of the scene in front of her.
Next to her, seated at a narrow wooden table, was Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado, the son of Eritrean immigrants and the first African-American to represent his state in Congress. Across from them at his new desk was Senator Raphael Warnock, the first Black Democrat to represent the South in the Senate. Ms. Plaskett was the lone elected Black woman in the room.
“I turned to Joe, and I was like: ‘Look at this — isn’t this awesome? This is something,’” Ms. Plaskett recalled in an interview. “It made me kind of tear up at that moment.”
After historic turns as House impeachment managers for the Senate trial of President Donald J. Trump, both Ms. Plaskett and Mr. Neguse emerged from the proceedings with national platforms and as high-profile faces of a Democratic coalition that is younger and more diverse than its leaders.
Even though their prosecution failed to deliver a conviction, both lawmakers said they hope to turn their newfound prominence into gains for their constituents as President Biden barrels forward with an ambitious agenda for economic stimulus and other overhauls. And in interviews after the trial’s conclusion, both said they were conscious of their roles as among the few Black lawmakers who took part in an impeachment of a former president whose race-baiting and anti-immigration stances helped create deep divisions in the country.
“It certainly was not lost on me that in moments during the trial, as I stood there, or as Stacey, my friend, stood there in the well of the Senate, there are only four or less — depending on whether the senators were in the room — Black elected officials in the room,” Mr. Neguse said in an interview. “That is certainly unique. I think Stacey and I both worked really hard to do justice in terms of honoring the experiences of so many people of color that day.”
The Trump Impeachment ›
What You Need to Know
- A trial was held to decide whether former President Donald J. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters when they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, violently breaching security measures and sending lawmakers into hiding as they met to certify President Biden’s victory.
- The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in his quest to overturn the election results. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to impeach him.
- The Senate acquitted Mr. Trump of the charges by a vote of 57 to 43, falling short of the two-thirds majority required for a conviction.
- Without a conviction, the former president is eligible to run for public office once again. Public opinion surveys show that he remains by far the most popular national figure in the Republican Party.
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