Two dozen former Republican members of Congress, including a former representative from Massachusetts, are calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment.
The group sent a joint letter to the current Congress on Monday, writing "There is no excuse for nor defense of a President of the United States to actively orchestrate an insurrection on a separate but coequal branch of government. As members of the branch that was under attack — not just politically but physically — you must remove the president from office."
Republican Peter Torkildsen represented Massachusetts' 6th congressional district from 1993 to 1997 and said he didn't hesitate when he was asked to sign the letter, which was released by the independent watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight.
"If inciting an insurrection isn't an impeachable offense than I don't know what is," said Torkildsen, who added that he didn't watch Wednesday's events as they unfolded but saw much of it that night. "I was just appalled on so many levels. I look at the Capitol building as America's temple to self-government. You know, it tells every American in the whole world that we don't need a king or a dictator to govern us."
Seeing rioters trash the building and try to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes was almost beyond his comprehension, he said.
Torkildsen criticized his party for straying from its roots.
"If Republicans can't stand up and say insurrection of this type is an impeachable offense, if they can't do that, then you really have to ask, what does the party stand for?" he asked. "If you turned a blind eye to this lawbreaking, saying you're a party of law and order is just not possible, so I hope some Republicans will see this has gone too far."
Other former Republican members of Congress who signed the letter include former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey, former Rhode Island Rep. Claudine Schneider and former Vermont Rep. Peter Smith.