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What the 10 Republicans Who Voted To Impeach Donald Trump Have Said About Their Decision

Newsweek logo Newsweek 1/14/2021 Darragh Roche
Lisa Bevill wearing glasses: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) leaves the podium after speaking during a news conference with other Republican members of the House of Representatives at the Capitol on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Cheney is among 10 Republican members of the House to vote in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump. © Samuel Corum/Getty Images U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) leaves the podium after speaking during a news conference with other Republican members of the House of Representatives at the Capitol on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Cheney is among 10 Republican members of the House to vote in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump.

Just 10 Republican members of the House broke with their party on Wednesday and voted to impeach President Donald Trump following the riots at the Capitol on January 6.

The most senior was Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who serves as House Republican Conference Chair and had previously urged her caucus not to vote to reject the Electoral College results.

She was joined by nine of her colleagues, including some unexpected names, who explained their decision either before the vote was taken or after the president had been formally impeached for the second time.

"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. None of this would have happened without the president," Cheney said in a statement on Tuesday.


"The president could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not," Cheney added.

New York Congressman John Katko was the first House Republican to announce his intention to vote in favor of impeachment, which he duly did.

"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 on Tuesday. "For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president."

Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a frequent critic of the president, joined Katko, saying there was "no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection."

"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.

Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and Michigan Congressman Fred Upton also announced their intention to vote for impeachment on Wednesday morning.

"The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next," Beutler said on Twitter.

"The president's offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have."

Upton tweeted that Congress "must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next."

Washington Congressman Dan Newhouse explained his decision on impeachment in an interview with the state's Spokesman-Review newspaper on Wednesday just before the vote.

"I've been contemplating and praying about this ever since it became an issue," he said. "Even though I'm a Republican and a supporter of Donald Trump—and that's what makes this really hard—I felt that the president let us down, particularly when he knew what was going on and did not do all he could to stop the violence. I can't condone that."

California Congressman David Valadao said on Twitter that the impeachment was "a rushed political stunt" but added: "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," he said.

South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice was a surprise vote for impeachment. Rice said on Wednesday that while he didn't completely agree with everything in the impeachment article, he supported it anyway.

"When it got out of hand, Trump didn't do anything. He was watching it on TV [...] and tweeting that Vice President Mike Pence didn't have courage," Rice said.

"He never came out and did a press conference; he never spoke to the country. Here we sit a week later and six people were killed, including two Capitol police officers, (one committed suicide later) and he hasn't addressed the nation yet? He hasn't offered condolences to the hundreds that were injured or for the two police officers that were killed?"

"I've been loyal to him, but he certainly didn't feel loyal to us," Rice said.

Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer said he thought the charge against Trump was "accurate" but noted that he had struggled with making his decision.

"This vote is not a victory," he said. "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."

Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez said Trump had "helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution," in a statement on Wednesday.

"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 said.

"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."

Though the 10 Republicans have won praise from Trump's critics, their place in the party and Congress could be at risk as those still loyal to the president consider the future of the GOP.

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