On Wednesday, House Democrats lead by Speaker Nancy Pelosi did what no other body of Congress has ever done in voting to impeach a sitting president for the second time in one term. This comes as the House majority voted to impeach President Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection”, after a mixed group of his supporters, White Supremacists, and various left-wing agitators stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday January 6th, temporarily halting the Senate’s debate and certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Many of the president’s most outspoken critics and opponents have attributed the violence that ensured in the Capitol building to his “Save America” rally, despite the president not explicitly calling for an attack on the capitol or even once encouraging his supporters to violently protest. On the contrary, President Trump suggested for his supporters to peacefully march from the White House to the Capitol and respectfully protest the contested results of the 2020 election, stating, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
The official House vote was 232-197 to impeach the president. This vote contained ten Republicans who joined with Democrats, including 3rd highest ranking member of House Republicans and Conference Chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Her vote and perceived betrayal of Republican party unity has sparked widespread condemnation among her colleagues in the House, with many like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) calling for her to immediately resign or removed from House leadership.
“When Representative Cheney came out for impeachment today, she failed to consult with the Conference, failed to abide by the spirit of the rules of the Republican Conference, and ignored the preferences of Republican voters,” said Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MO) in a statement of rebuke on Tuesday. “She is weakening our conference at a key moment for personal political gain and is unfit to lead. She must step down as Conference Chair.”
House Democrats notably did not have any Republican support during the first impeachment trial against Trump in December 2019. Those who supported Trump’s impeachment argued that he is too dangerous to remain in power for final week of his term, and is guilty of inciting open rebellion against Congress. Five people died amid the riot last week, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was struck by a fire extinguisher while attempting to stop the rioting. As more video footage is revealed, many familiar members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter were detected among the crowds of protestors. This includes notable BLM activist John Sullivan, who was involved in the violent riots in Washington D.C. during the summer of 2020. During that time, Sullivan was caught saying violent and explicative remarks to stir up rioters such as, “We … about to burn this s— down. We gotta … rip Trump right out of that office right there,” he continued, adding, “We ain’t about … waiting until the next election.”
Joining with Rep. Cheney in support of this impeachment were Republican Reps. Tom Rice of South Carolina, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and John Katko of New York. Most Republicans in the House, however, voted strictly against the rushed and unorthodox impeachment process, made without any Judiciary hearings, because Trump is already expected to leave office next week and the political action would further fracture an already divided country.