Nancy Pelosi wore all black and spoke in somber tones.
The powerful House Speaker took to the floor of Congress just after noon on Wednesday to open up a historic all-day debate over the impeachment of President Trump.
“He gave us no choice. What we are discussing today is the established fact that the president violated the constitution,” Pelosi intoned.
She invoked the spirit of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic “North Star” who led the Oversight Committee until his sudden death as the impeachment drama unfolded.
“Elijah, as you know, has since passed on and now he is dancing with the angels,” Pelosi said. “I know he and all of us here are proud of the moral courage of our members.”
Applause greeted Pelosi’s speech. But there was still six long hours of debate ahead before a final vote.
Pelosi as much as anyone has come full circle on impeachment. After Democrats took back the House of Representatives in the midterms #BlueWave landslide, she warned against overreaching or confronting Trump too much.
She resisted impeachment steadfastly for months, fretting that moderate and independent voters might punish Democrats for putting partisan political score-setting above bread-and-butter issues. She even warning allies to avoid mentioning the I-word.
But the Ukraine scandal and Trump’s efforts to cover up his role pushed her over the edge. And once she decided to pursue impeachment, she never looked back.