When radical Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney made history filing articles to impeach President Bush after 9/11

Cynthia McKinney/Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is a woman of many firsts. Her chapter does not only begin with becoming the first African-American woman from Georgia to be in the U.S. Congress. She was the first Congresswoman to demand a probe into events leading to the September 9/11 terrorist attacks.

She also initiated steps in line with her interest in the attacks, making her the first in Congress to file articles seeking to impeach President George W. Bush.

Congresswoman McKinney has been described as a ‘no pushover’ who did not let anyone frighten her, from President Bill Clinton to the last man at the House’s garage. Her attitude, according to her, was her own way of seeking to motivate her constituents in Georgia and other black women elsewhere.

Her vociferous nature and critical views on anti-war funding are cited as some of the possible reasons she lost her seat in 2002. When she was defeated, she never gave up. She vied for the seat again in 2004 and was re-elected to Congress.

McKinney started her political career in the Georgia Legislature. She served two terms as a state representative. She was the force behind the legislation that impressed federal authorities to release classified documents on the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and hip pop legend Tupac Shakur.

In 2005, she criticized the government’s handling of the impact of Hurricane Katrina. She attracted international media attention when her boat was hit by the Israeli military when she was on her way to deliver medical supplies to Gaza. She made a second attempt in 2009 to enter Gaza with crayons, coloring books, and school supplies. The Israeli military attacked her boat and captured her as a prisoner. She spent seven days in a prison in Israel. She however succeeded in making an entry into Gaza in July 2009 using George Galloway’s Viva Palestina, according to North South University.

She visited 21 cities in August 2011 in her campaign to end the bombing in Libya. She also served as a juror on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Congresswoman McKinney had her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change in 2015 with her dissertation on the transformational leadership of Hugo Chavez. She had her B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California in 1978 and her M.A. in law and diplomacy from Tufts University in 1979.

Born on March 17, 1955, in Atlanta, McKinney was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the daughter of Billy McKinney, one of Atlanta’s first African-American police officers and a longtime member of the Georgia House of Representatives.

She had a signature trait of wearing gold running shoes and braiding her hair as a symbol of challenging whites, mostly in the U.S. Congress, according to encyclopedia.com. Her divorced background is one of the reasons she associates with the poor, mainly blacks and women.

Below is the full copy of her resolution to impeach President Bush as well as Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in December 2006.

Mr. Speaker:

I come before this body today as a proud American and as a servant of the American people, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Throughout my tenure, I’ve always tried to speak the truth. It’s that commitment that brings me here today.

We have a President who has misgoverned and a Congress that has refused to hold him accountable. It is a grave situation and I believe the stakes for our country are high.

No American is above the law, and if we allow a President to violate, at the most basic and fundamental level, the trust of the people and then continue to govern, without a process for holding him accountable, what does that say about our commitment to the truth? To the Constitution? To our democracy?

The trust of the American people has been broken. And a process must be undertaken to repair this trust. This process must begin with honesty and accountability.

Leading up to our invasion of Iraq, the American people supported this Administration’s actions because they believed in our President. They believed he was acting in good faith. They believed that American laws and American values would be respected. That in the weightiness of everything being considered, two values were rock solid: trust and truth.

From mushroom clouds to African yellowcake to aluminum tubes, the American people and this Congress were not presented the facts, but rather were presented a string of untruths, to justify the invasion of Iraq.

President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Rice, portrayed to the Congress and to the American people that Iraq represented an imminent threat, culminating with President Bush’s claim that Iraq was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon. Having used false fear to buy consent, the President then took our country to war.

This has grave consequences for the health of our democracy, for our standing with our allies, and most of all, for the lives of our men and women in the military and their families-who have been asked to make sacrifices-including the ultimate sacrifice-to keep us safe.

Just as we expect our leaders to be truthful, we expect them to abide by the law and respect our courts and judges. Here again, the President failed the American people.

When President Bush signed an executive order authorizing unlawful spying on American citizens, he circumvented the courts, the law, and he violated the separation of powers provided by the Constitution. Once the program was revealed, he then tried to hide the scope of his offense from the American people by making contradictory, untrue statements.

President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people.

With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us. To shy away from this responsibility would be easier. But I have not been one to travel the easy road. I believe in this country, and in the power of our democracy. I feel the steely conviction of one who will not let the country I love descend into shame; for the fabric of our democracy is at stake.

Some will call this a partisan vendetta, others will say this is an unimportant distraction to the plans of the incoming Congress. But this is not about political gamesmanship.

I am not willing to put any political party before my principles.

This, instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the high standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was founded.

Mr. Speaker:

Under the standards set by the United States Constitution, President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice, should be subject to the process of impeachment, and I have filed H. Res.1106 in the House of Representatives.

To my fellow Americans, as I leave this Congress, it is in your hands to hold your representatives accountable, and to show those with the courage to stand for what is right, that they do not stand alone.

Thank you.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 16, 2023


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