The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” making him the first president in American history to have been impeached twice.
The vote comes exactly one week after Trump incited a mob of his followers to storm the U.S Capitol in a violent insurrection that left five people dead. The resolution passed by a vote of 232-197. House Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the measure, though 10 did join with Democrats to vote that a president who encourages his followers and his party to overthrow a U.S. election is no longer eligible for office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly believes Trump committed impeachable offenses, but has said that he will not bring the issue to the Senate before Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, meaning that, barring his unlikely resignation, Trump will serve out the remainder of his term. The Senate could still hold a trial to convict Trump after he has left office.
This is the second time Trump has been impeached in just over a year. The House voted 230 to 197 to impeach him in December of 2019 following his campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government into launching a public investigation into Joe Biden, then one of the frontrunners to challenge Trump’s bid for reelection.
But the Senate did not subsequently vote to convict Trump, and only one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), voted in favor of removing him from office. The inability or unwillingness of the other Republicans to recognize the danger Trump posed to the nation proved costly, to say the least. It won’t be long before half of a million Americans will have died from complications stemming from Covid-19, which the president steadfastly refused to take seriously even as it ravaged the nation. Trump has also waged an all-out war on representative democracy since losing the election to Biden in November, culminating in the deadly storming of the Capitol last Wednesday.
In 2019, no House Republicans voted to impeach Trump. This time, a few crossed the party line. The 10 Republicans who voted in favor of the resolution include Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), the chamber’s third-ranking minority member. In a statement released Tuesday announcing her intention to vote to impeach, Cheney wrote that “never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
The other Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution are: Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.).
According to Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) additional Republicans who wanted to vote to impeach may have declined to do so out of fear for their safety.
WATCH: Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) says majority of GOP "paralyzed with fear" @RepJasonCrow: "I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues. … A couple of them broke down in tears … saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment." pic.twitter.com/ESEu40WW1P
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 13, 2021
“I get it, but some of us just spent the last 2 years taking stances that have led to repeated attempts on our lives – for demanding guaranteed healthcare, immigrant justice, etc.,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response. “Sorry if this lacks empathy, but it’s a privilege if this is their first time. They can do one vote.”
“Many of them rode the wave of this violent rhetoric, or at the very least sat idly by it,” she added. “Now is our chance to stop it. This is what we are sent to Congress to do – the tough stuff. All the easy choices are taken.”
Shortly before the insurrection last Wednesday, Trump told his supporters to storm the Capitol and “fight like hell.” They obliged him in terrifying fashion. The choice before his supporters in Congress today was whether they, too, would oblige him and continue to stand behind a president who has betrayed the Constitution. The vast majority of them chose to do so.