History was made before the impeachment trial of President Trump even began.
It’s the first time that three of the seven house managers to argue a presidential impeachment case are women: Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), member of the Intelligence and Judiciary committees; Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), member of the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chair of the House Committee on House Administration.
The three join Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), House Intelligence Committee chairman and lead manager; Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Together, they have been charged with persuading at least 67 senators to convict Trump and remove him from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Here’s what Lofgren, Demings and Garcia have to say about their roles in the trial:
Lofgren has one item on her curriculum vitae that no one else on the team does. She has been involved in all three impeachments in modern history. As a law student and congressional staff member in 1974, she helped to write the articles of impeachment against Richard M. Nixon. Later, she was on the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
On Tuesday, she added another first: She became the first woman to speak on the Senate floor as a House manager in an impeachment trial.
Lofgren said that when colleagues ask for advice, she urges them to stick to the facts and the Constitution, adding that she often shares the 1974 report on the Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment put together by the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
“I accepted the responsibility to fulfill my oath of office to hold the president accountable as an impeachment manager with honor and determination,” Lofgren, who is serving her 13th term in Congress, said. “The fact that this group of impeachment managers better reflects the diversity of the American public than ever before is a welcome development.”
Lofgren is a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, and the daughter of a truck driver and cafeteria cook. She worked nights at a Kodak plant while attending Stanford University on a scholarship before graduating with a degree in political science. She went on to law school, and was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994.
“I would just remind people that we Americans enjoy freedom. Letting a president upend the Constitutional order that protects freedom would violate my oath of office but also my obligation to future Americans to preserve the Constitution,” Lofgren said. “This is the third impeachment I’ve worked on, and it’s by far the most threatening to our democracy. Our grandchildren should have as free a country as we have.”
Demings, 62, had a 27-year career in the Orlando Police Department and in 2007 became the department’s first female police chief. Demings grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., the youngest of seven children.
“I have taken 4 oaths in my lifetime. One as a young police officer, one as the chief of police, and two now as a member of Congress,” Demings said. “I know the stakes are high and the weight of serving as an impeachment manager is heavy. But part of what lightens the load is serving in this role with a group of exceptional colleagues who are committed to protecting our democracy.”
Demings noted that all three women serving as impeachment managers were the first in their family to attend college.
“Our love for America and the American Dream isn’t theoretical — we lived it,” she said. “I believe that diversity is always a strength, and I’m honored to help move America toward a fair and just future not only by example but also by the work we came here to do.”
Demings said that as a law enforcement officer she has seen a lot of evidence.
“I think about it this way: How would we react if this was anyone else in America? If your local police chief promised extra public safety patrols in return for political favors, we would never tolerate such behavior. We cannot now, because no one is above the law.”
Demings gave one of the most emotional speeches during the impeachment hearings and spoke of growing up as a poor, black girl in Florida.
“I come before you tonight as an African American female. I come before you tonight as a descendant of slaves, slaves who knew they would not make it but dreamed and prayed that one day I would make it. I come before you tonight proclaiming that despite America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution,” she said.
Sylvia Garcia, 69, is a native of Palito Blanco, a South Texas farming community. She went on to receive her law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and eventually was the first Latina to be elected to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court.
Garcia became a member of the Texas state Senate in 2013. In 2019 she became the first Hispanic member of the Houston Congressional Delegation and one of the first two Latinas to represent Texas in Congress.
“I feel the weight of the responsibility, not only as one of the first three women to serve as a presidential impeachment manager, but also the first Latina to ever serve in the position,” she said.
“This is about making sure that we can gift a stronger and more resilient democracy to our children. There is not a more important responsibility than making sure they inherit a democracy.”