Trump on Wednesday became the first US president to be impeached twice. As ten Republican House members voted to impeach President Donald Trump over the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. The GOP votes were in sharp contrast to the unanimous support for Trump among House Republicans when he was first impeached by Democrats in 2019.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump, with 10 Republicans joining with Democrats to charge him with incitement of insurrection.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, said in a statement, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Nine other House Republicans also supported impeachment: Reps. John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; Fred Upton and Peter Meijer of Michigan; Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington state; Tom Rice of South Carolina; and David Valadao of California.
All Democrats who voted supported impeachment, while 197 Republicans voted no.
The extraordinary second impeachment, just days before Trump is to leave office, comes after the president encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” against the election results in a speech near the White House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will now send the article of impeachment to the Senate, though that timing is unclear. Actual removal seems unlikely before the January 20th inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring the Senate back before January 19th.
Still, McConnell did not rule out voting to convict Trump. In a note to his fellow Republican senators just before the House was to begin voting, he said he is undecided.
See below, the list of Republicans who voted for impeachment in the House of Representatives:
Upton, from Michigan, in November said Trump had shown no proof of his claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.Upton said he would have preferred a bipartisan, formal censure rather than impeachment, but that Trump’s refusal to take responsibility for the riot left him no choice.
“The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message,” he said.
Rice may have cast the most surprising vote.
His coastal South Carolina district strongly backed Trump in the election and he voted last week to object to certification of electoral votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. “I have backed this president through thick and thin for four years. I’ve campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But this utter failure is inexcusable,” Rice said in a statement after the vote.
Rice said he was disappointed that Trump has failed to show remorse over the riot or address the nation to ask for calm.
Valadao in November reclaimed his former California seat from the Democrats. In a statement posted to Twitter, Valadao said that Trump “was, without question, a driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6th by encouraging masses of rioters to incite violence on elected officials, staff members, and our representative democracy as a whole”.
President Trump was, without question, a driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6 by encouraging masses of rioters to incite violence on elected officials, staff members, and our representative democracy as a whole.
— Rep. David Valadao (@RepDavidValadao) January 13, 2021
Newhouse, from Washington State, announced his intention to vote to impeach on the House floor during Wednesday’s debate, drawing applause from the roughly two dozen Democrats on the floor.
“There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions,” he said.
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Herrera Beutler is a moderate from Washington State. In a statement, she said that the president’s offenses were “impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have”.
Herrera Beutler, who is in her sixth term, said that while many lawmakers fear Trump, “truth sets us free from fear. My vote to impeach a sitting president is not a fear-based decision,” she said. “I am not choosing a side. I’m choosing truth.”
Kinzinger, an air force veteran who has emerged as a leading Trump critic, said he had no doubt that Trump “broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection”.
Trump “used his position in the executive” branch to attack the legislative branch, said Kinzinger, who is in his sixth term representing northern Illinois.
Katko, from New York, was the first member of the House Republican caucus to say he would vote for impeachment.
Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said in a statement on Tuesday that he had not made the decision lightly, adding: “To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. I cannot sit by without taking action.”
Gonzalez is an Ohio Republican. In his statement, Gonzalez accused Trump of having “abandoned his post” amid the violence at the Capitol.
Gonzalez argued that the president’s failure to act further endangered those present at the Capitol, and described the president’s actions as “fundamental threats” to American democracy.
“When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th including the president’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack, I am compelled to support impeachment,” he wrote on Twitter.
Meijer, a new member of Congress from Grand Rapids, Michigan, said he was voting for impeachment with a “heavy heart”.
“The president betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the violent acts of insurrection last week,” he said in a statement.
The articles will now go to trial in the Senate, where it will be decided if he remains in office. A two-thirds majority of those present is needed to convict Trump in the Senate, which means 17 Republicans would have to vote against the president in a full chamber. While it appears to be an unlikely outcome, the New York Times reported Tuesday that there were up to 20 Republican Senators “open” to his conviction.
Either way, the trial will not conclude until the president is already out of office.
“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday.