Posted on

Why These Republicans Voted for President Trump’s Impeachment

The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump for a second time on Wednesday, one week after his inflammatory rhetoric incited a mob that stormed the Capitol.

The article of impeachment passed in the Democrat-controlled House charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection,” accusing the president of encouraging his followers to attack the Capitol during a rally last week. Moments after his speech, thousands of supporters invaded the building as Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Five died in the mayhem, including a Capitol Police officer who was attacked by the mob, and dozens more were injured.

Wednesday’s vote made Trump the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice and laid bare the increasing divide between the president and the Republican Party. At least 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump while not a single Republican broke with the president when he was impeached the first time in Dec. 2019. In total, the House voted to impeach Trump by a 232 to 197 margin.

Here are the Republicans who supported impeachment.

Rep. John Katko (R-NY)

The first House Republican to publicly say he would join at least 218 Democrats in signing the impeachment resolution, Katko said he felt compelled to defend the Constitution—regardless of political party. The lawmaker said he viewed the question of whether to impeach Trump through his former federal prosecutor’s lens, examining the facts of what happened at the Capitol and the president’s decision to promote “baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen.”

“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)

The third-ranking House Republican said on Tuesday she would vote to impeach Trump for his role in the deadly riot, a decision that now has her colleagues calling for her ouster. In a statement, she called out the president’s inflammatory comments that incited the “violent mob” that tried to “obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes.”

“What we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing,” Cheney 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. I will vote to impeach the President.”

On Wednesday, several members of the Freedom Caucus circulated a petition to force a special conference meeting to debate whether they should call on Cheney to resign from her post.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

On Tuesday, Kinzinger said he would join his Republican colleagues in voting to impeach the president after he witnessed Trump encouraging “an angry mob to storm the United States Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes” and break his oath of office.

“He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions—the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch—are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?” Kinzinger said. “I will vote in favor of impeachment.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

The longtime lawmaker said on Tuesday he would vote to impeach after witnessing Trump characterize his rhetoric last week as “totally appropriate” and express no regret about his possible role in the violent insurrection. Upton said the lack of self-awareness sent “exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles” and vowed to defend the Constitution.” By impeaching the president, he added, it sends a clear message that America “cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next.”

“I would have preferred a bipartisan, formal censure rather than a drawn-out impeachment process,” he added. “I fear this will now interfere with important legislative business and a new Biden Administration. But it is time to say: Enough is enough.”

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)

The first Republican to speak on the House floor in favor of impeachment, Newhouse said that the proceedings marked a “sad day in our republic” but weren’t nearly as emotional as the violence last week. Blaming both sides of the aisle for the violence, he said his colleagues have failed in not condemning riots over the last year.

He said the articles of impeachment “are flawed… But I will not use process as an excuse. There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions. The president took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

He continued: “Last week there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol, and he did nothing to stop it. That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)

After announcing her intention to vote to impeach Trump, Beutler said in her speech on the House floor that she is standing up “against our enemy”—fear—instead of towing a party line. Arguing that fear has governed what Americans want to hear and haunts “us into silence and inaction,” she said she would vote to impeach because “truth sets us free from fear.”

“Truth doesn’t guarantee bad things won’t happen, but it does promise to always prevail in the end. It has no shadows where darkness can hide. We could use that,” Beutler said, adding that she is not afraid to lose her job. “My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear based decision. I am not choosing a side. I am choosing truth. It’s the only way to defeat fear.”

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI)

The freshman congressman revealed his decision to impeach Trump on Wednesday afternoon, saying the outgoing president betrayed his oath when he “misled millions” with his “claims of a stolen election.” Meijer added that he was shocked by the president’s refusal to take any responsibility for his rhetoric and actions—and it is his job to apply his best judgment and vote to impeach despite what division “this vote will cause.”

“This vote is not a victory. It isn’t a victory for my party, and it isn’t the victory the Democrats might think it is. I’m not sure it is a victory for our country. But it is a call to action for us to reflect on these events and seek ways to correct them,” Meijer said. “With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump.”

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)

Gonzalez said his decision came after watching Trump “organize and incite” his supporters in a deliberate attempt to “prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution.” That cost the lives of five people, injured dozens, and forced elected officials to hide, fearing for their lives.

“During the attack itself, the President abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present. These are fundamental threats not just to people’s lives but to the very foundation of the Republic,” Gonzalez wrote. “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.”

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)

Valadao, the last Republican to vote against the president, said Trump was a “driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6.” While he slammed Pelosi for throwing “precedent and process out the window by turning what should be a thorough investigation into a rushed political stunt,” Valadao said his conscience told him to impeach.

“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,” Valadao said.

Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)

Two days after publicly condemning impeachment efforts, Rice wordlessly voted with his Democratic colleagues on Tuesday. The lawmaker has not yet made a statement about his decision to change his stance. On Monday, he’d insisted that any presidential punishment might “stoke further division.”