All told, 10 Republicans voted with the Democrats to impeach Trump on charges of “incitement of insurrection.” Although the group represents a small fraction of the conference, their support gives impeachment bipartisan bona fides that could help it gain traction in the Senate. It also reflects the deep division within the Republican Party about its future and the role the president should play.
The group represents the party’s ideological spectrum, from Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who holds a leadership position, to moderate Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), to Rice.
The others who voted to impeach Trump are Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and David Valadao (Calif.).
In statements, many called their decision of vote of conscience.
“Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience,” tweeted Valado, a returning member who just won his seat back from a Democrat. Trump’s “inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.”
“This is not a vote I took lightly, but a vote I took confidently,” tweeted Kinzinger, who has condemned Trump’s behavior since the election. “I’m at peace.”
Some of Trump’s top allies in the House tried to paint Kinzinger and others as a small rump. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), among Trump’s staunchest congressional defenders, said the fact that only 10 Republicans joined the Democrats showed the president’s support remained strong.
Asked whether Trump could remain an effective leader of the party, Jordan said, “Of course, he is.”
“His support is strong because the American people appreciated that over the past four years he did more of what he said he would do than any president in my lifetime,” Jordan said.
But other House Republicans said the lopsided GOP vote reflected concerns about the impeachment process and should not be seen as an endorsement of Trump’s behavior.
“It actually represents a feeling among Republicans — even Republicans who are disappointed with this president — that with only seven days left to go in his term and with the toxic political environment being what it is, that there’s a real need in the country to lower the temperature,” said Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr (R-Ky.). “This is viewed by a lot of Americans as an act of political vengeance.”
As the articles of impeachment now move to the Senate for a trial, several Republicans have signaled a willingness to convict Trump, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who told colleagues earlier in the day that he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” according to his office.
Several Senate Republicans expressed similar sentiments, a strikingly different tone from the cries of a “witch hunt” during Trump’s first impeachment in December 2019.
“I stand by my statements over the last week regarding President Trump and the role he played in the deadly riot at the Capitol,” said Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who has called for Trump to resign over the attacks. “Whether or not the Senate has the constitutional authority to hold an impeachment trial for a president that is no longer in office is debatable. Should the Senate conduct a trial, I will again fulfill my responsibility to consider arguments from both the House managers and President Trump’s lawyers.”
Other Senate Republicans focused on how everything started, with Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election and his baseless insistence that they had been rigged.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has been critical of Trump’s efforts to subvert the election, said everything that has happened since Nov. 3 is the result of a “particular lie.”
“When the President urged his supporters to disrupt the proceedings of the January 6th Joint Meeting of Congress by ‘fighting like hell,’ it was widely understood that his crowd included many people who were planning to fight physically,” Sasse said in a statement, “and who were prepared to die in response to his false claims of a ‘stolen election.’ ”