The House voted 218-185, along party lines, to stymie the measure, which was introduced last month by Republicans angered by the investigation into President Donald Trump’s July 25 “quid pro quo” call with the leader of Ukraine. The party had accused Schiff — one of the most well-known faces behind the impeachment inquiry — of “certain misleading conduct” in a largely symbolic attempt to voice their displeasure.
“Chairman Schiff is a great American patriot,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement after the vote. “Our country is extremely well-served by his serious, smart and strategic leadership to protect our elections, national security and democracy — which sadly stands in stark contrast to Republicans in the Congress.”
Reuters noted that just 23 House members have been censured since 1832. The political process forces lawmakers to stand before their colleagues and be publicly rebuked, but they are not expelled from the chamber. Lawmakers considered censuring Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) earlier this year for his long history of racist comments, but Democrats ultimately did not support that effort.
Schiff responded to the failure to censure him later Monday, writing that Republicans had failed to confront the president and instead targeted those seeking to uphold the law.
“It will be said of House Republicans, when they found they lacked the courage to confront the most dangerous and unethical president in American history, they consoled themselves by attacking those who did,” the lawmaker wrote on Twitter.
Republicans defended their effort on Monday, despite its failure, while the party as a whole begins to strengthen its defense of the president amid the impeachment inquiry. Trump’s July 25 call to the president of Ukraine partly triggered the inquiry when a whistleblower complaint revealed that, while he was holding up military aid, Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate a political rival.
“185 Republicans voted to move forward to condemn and censure Chairman Adam Schiff,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote on Twitter. “Democrats instead chose to put politics over the truth. Shame on them.”
Trump has continued to rage against Schiff and Pelosi as the impeachment inquiry gathers steam, calling them “bad, bad people” and going so far as to suggest they should be impeached themselves (lawmakers can’t be impeached). During a Cabinet meeting Monday, the president raged against Schiff, calling him a “crooked politician” and “shifty.”
“Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” Trump said during Monday’s meeting. “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight because the Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election, which is coming up, where we’re doing very well.”