Ten Republicans of the US House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump after rioters stormed the Capitol building last week, making him the first president in US history to be impeached twice.
Trump’s support within the Republican party appears to be wavering. While only 10 Republicans voted for impeachment, during Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 the party closed ranks, with zero votes for impeachment at the time.
All House Democrats voted in favor of the impeachment; 197 Republicans voted against it. The 10 Republican votes for this impeachment trial made history as the tally exceeded the previous record of five Democrat votes during Bill Clinton’s 1988 impeachment trial.
The US House of Representatives, the lower house of Congress, first decide if a President should be impeached. If the house finds in favor the Senate, the upper house of Congress, will then hold a trial overseen by the US chief justice.
The Senate’s response to the president’s second impeachment is yet to be determined. In order to render a guilty verdict, 17 Republicans would have to join Democrats.
As of yet, only a small number of Republican senators have shown interest in potentially convicting Trump in a Senate trial. The trial would begin after Trump has left office and after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office on January 20.
The Republicans of the House of Representatives who voted for Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday are: Liz Cheney, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Adam Kinzinger, John Katko, Anthony Gonzalez, Fred Upton, Tom Rice, David Valadao, Peter Meijer, and Dan Newhouse.
Liz Cheney, the No.3 House Republican, was the most senior member of her party to vote against efforts to challenge electoral college results confirming Trump’s loss.
She is also the daughter of Dick Cheney, former Republican vice president under George W. Bush.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the constitution,” Cheney said, in a statement released on Tuesday.
In a tweet posted immediately after the riot took place, Cheney said, “There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame.”
We just had a violent mob assault the Capitol in an attempt to prevent those from carrying out our Constitutional duty. There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame. pic.twitter.com/nc9WLmtfuv— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) January 7, 2021
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Herrera Beutler, a moderate from Washington state who is in her sixth term, said in a statement that Trump’s offenses were “impeachable”, citing that her decision was “based on the indisputable evidence we already have.”
“Truth sets us free from fear. My vote to impeach a sitting president is not a fear-based decision. I am not choosing a side. I’m choosing truth,” she added.
Adam Kinzinger is a US Air Force veteran currently in his sixth term representing northern Illinois. Kinzinger, a regular Trump critic, has said that he did not doubt that Trump had broken his oath of office and incited the violence at the Capitol on January 6.
Former federal prosecutor John Katko was the first member of the House Republicans to outwardly say that he would vote for Trump’s impeachment.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “I cannot sit by without taking action.”
In his statement, Republican Gonzalez of Ohio accused Trump of having “abandoned his post” amidst the violence that took place at the Capitol.
“When I consider the full scope of the event 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 added.
He also argued that Trump’s failure to act during the riots only further endangered those present on the premises. He went on to describe the president’s actions as “fundamental threats” to democracy.
In November 2020, Upton stated that Trump showed no proof of his claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
“The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message,” said Upton.
He also mentioned that a bipartisan, formal censure would have been preferably over impeachment, but that the president’s refusal to be held accountable for the riots left him no choice.
Tom Rice’s coastal South Carolina district backed Trump strongly in the presidential election, and just last week Rice also voted to object the certification of electoral votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania in line with Trump’s wishes, making his vote for impeachment probably the most surprising of all.
“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,” said Rice in a statement.
Rice then expressed his disappointment in Trump for his failure to show remorse over the insurrection or address the country to ask for calm.
In November, David Valadao reclaimed his former seat from the Democrats.
“Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience. I voted to impeach President Trump. His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics,” Tweeted Valadao on Wednesday.
He also tweeted that Trump was undoubtedly “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.”
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
Congress freshman Peter Meijer of Michigan said that 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.
Dan Newhouse has represented Washington state’s 4th district since 2014 and announced his intention to impeach the president on the House floor during Wednesday’s debate to the applause of almost two dozen Democrats.
“There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions,” he said.
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