POLITICS
14/01/2021 12:11 PM AEDT | Updated 14/01/2021 9:44 PM AEDT

10 House Republicans Explain Why They Voted To Impeach Donald Trump

“Enough is enough.” “Utter failure.” “Pathetic.” GOPers, in their own words.

“I’m at peace.”

10 Republicans in the House of Representatives joined Democrats to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time on Wednesday, an unprecedented rebuke of an American leader who has flouted norms and sown discontent for years with little reprimand from his own party.

The House voted 232-197 in favor of one article of impeachment, charging the president with “incitement of insurrection” following the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol last week by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.

Five people died in the attack, including one Capitol Police officer, and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have condemned the president for his role in fanning the flames.

The number of House Republicans to vote against their party’s president was record-breaking. The president will now face a trial in the Senate, although the process is likely to drag into the early days of the Biden administration when Democrats control the chamber.

In the House, however, the rebuke was swift. Here’s what Republican members of Congress had to say about their vote to impeach Trump, in their own words: 

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)

Tom Williams via Getty Images
Rep. John Katko before the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection. 

Katko was the first Republican to announce that he would vote to impeach the president, saying he took an oath to defend the Constitution and that “country always comes first.” 

“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection — both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day,” Katko said in a statement before the vote. “By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division.” 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) 

Kinzinger said he had “no doubt” Trump had broken his oath of office and incited his supporters to riot.

“It was a sobering moment to vote in support of impeachment today; to walk over to the U.S. Capitol, our symbol of democracy, and recall the violent insurrection we witnessed here just one week ago,” he wrote afterward. “This is not a vote I took lightly, but a vote I took confidently. I’m at peace.” 

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)

Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said “none of this would have happened without the President.”

“This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic,” she said in a statement. “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.”

“The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence,” she added. “He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
"It is time to say: Enough is enough," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich). 

Upton pointed to Trump’s refusal to express regret for his efforts to incite his supporters last week as a deciding factor in his vote.

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

He later shared the Oath of Office on Twitter.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) said there was "indisputable evidence" that Trump committed an impeachable offense.

Herrera Beutler laid blame for the deadly insurrection directly at Trump’s feet, saying he “incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power.” 

“The President released a pathetic denouncement of the violence that also served as a wink and nod to those who perpetrated it: ‘I love you,’ he said to them, ‘you are special,’” she said before the vote. “The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have.”

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
"Turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our Republic is not an option,"  said Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.).

Newhouse said any vote against impeachment “is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital” and a “vote to condone President Trump’s inaction.”

“This is a pivotal and solemn moment in our country’s history,” he said just before the vote. “I wholeheartedly believe our nation — and the system of government it was founded upon — may well be in jeopardy if we do not rise to this occasion. … Turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our Republic is not an option.”

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.)

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) said Trump "betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process."

Meijer said he voted to impeach Trump “with a heavy heart,” but added that the president “betrayed and misled millions with claims of a ‘stolen election.’”

“I have wrestled with the division this vote will cause,” he said. “I wrestled with the precedent it will establish and I have concerns with due process. I have wrestled with whether impeachment, an inherently political process, is a meaningful mechanism of accountability for the seriousness of the President’s actions.”

“The President betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility of inciting the violent acts of insurrection last week.”

Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) 

Rice said that while he had backed Trump for years “through thick and thin,” the president’s inaction was an “utter failure.”

“I was on the floor of the House of Representatives when the rioters were beating on the door with tear gas, zip tie restraints, and pipe bombs in their possession,” Rice said. “It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol Police that the death toll was not much, much higher.” 

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)

Greg Nash/Pool via AP
"The President abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present," said Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio).

Gonzalez said Trump moved directly “in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties.”

“In doing so, five people have died — including a Capitol Police Officer — many more have been injured, and our democracy has been shaken,” he said. “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 our Republic.”

Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.)

Valadao said Trump was “without question” a “driving force in the catastrophic events that took place” at the Capitol. He said that he disagreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to hold a speedy impeachment vote, but said he felt compelled “to go with my gut.”

“I voted to impeach President Trump,” Valadao said. “His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.”