Jan 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Rep. Rice on decision to vote for impeachment: "This utter failure is inexcusable"


Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) says that while he has "backed [President Trump] through thick and thin," he voted in favor of impeaching Trump on Wednesday because "this utter failure is inexcusable," per a statement released on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Rice is a prolific supporter of Trump's and turned heads by joining nine Republicans in voting to impeach the president for "incitement of insurrection." Rice noted that one week after the Capitol attacks "the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences."

  • Trump did release a video on the White House Twitter account Wednesday night condemning the attack, stating, "I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week."
  • The president, whose Twitter account has been permanently suspended, insisted last week that the attack on the Capitol is what happens "when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."

The big picture: The other Republicans who voted for impeachment are Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), David Valadao (Calif.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Fred Upton (Mich.), John Katko (N.Y.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)

What he's saying: "Under the strict definition of the law, I don’t know if the President’s speech last Wednesday morning amounted to incitement of a riot, but any reasonable person could see the potential for violence," Rice noted.

  • "Once the violence began, when the Capitol was under siege, when the Capitol Police were being beaten and killed, and when the Vice President and the Congress were being locked down, the President was watching and tweeted about the Vice President’s lack of courage."
  • "For hours while the riot continued, the President communicated only on Twitter and offered only weak requests for restraint."
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