Union president Gabrielle Carteris initiated charges against Trump, accusing him of promoting misinformation that led to the attack, which left five people dead and more than 50 police officers injured. She noted that the attack also threatened the safety of journalists, some of whom are SAG-AFTRA members.
“Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred — democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” Carteris said in a statement. “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”
Under the union’s constitution, the charges will go to the disciplinary committee for a hearing. The committee has the power to issue fines, censures, or reprimands. Carteris is seeking the maximum penalty allowable under the union rules, which is expulsion from membership.
The union’s national board voted “overwhelmingly” on Tuesday to find probable cause of a violation, leading to the referral to the disciplinary committee.
David White, the union’s national executive director, also cited the threats to journalists in explaining the decision.
“Our most important role as a union is the protection of our members. The unfortunate truth is, this individual’s words and actions over the past four years have presented actual harm to our broadcast journalist members,” White said. “The board’s resolution addresses this effort to undermine freedom of the press and reaffirms the principles on which our democratic society rests, and which we must all work to protect and preserve.”
Trump was impeached last week by the House of Representatives over the assault on the Capitol. If convicted by the U.S. Senate, he could be barred from ever holding public office again.