A growing chorus of congressional Republicans announced their support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump this week, a remarkable turn for a party that has been marching in lockstep with him for years.
Their break from Trump comes as the House voted to impeach him, marking the first time a U.S. president has been impeached twice. In a record number for the president’s party, 10 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach.
The shift came after a mob of violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, vandalizing the halls of Congress and killing a Capitol Police officer. The president had fanned those flames for months, spreading lies about the 2020 election and his eventual loss to Joe Biden. On the day of the Capitol attack, he told the rioters that he loved them and they were “very special.”
The GOP dam broke on Tuesday, when Rep. John Katko of New York said he’d vote to impeach the president. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House, later issued a stark statement saying that she, too, would vote to impeach because of Trump’s direct role in inciting the riot.
“A violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes,” Cheney said. “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President.”
Republican support for some type of penalty has reached the highest levels of the GOP.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has told those close to him that he is pleased with Democratic efforts to impeach Trump and that he believes the president committed impeachable offenses, The New York Times reported Tuesday, although he has not made any public statements on the matter. The publication added that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is opposed to impeachment himself but would not lobby members to vote against it and has asked those close to him if he should call on the president to resign.
The expanding Republican support for impeachment in the Senate may be more symbolic than anything else. There is just a week left until Biden will be sworn in to office, and the GOP-controlled chamber is not expected to allow for a swift impeachment trial.
Here’s the list of Republican members of Congress who cast their votes for impeachment:
Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)
Katko said Tuesday that Trump must be held to account for his role in the insurrection, declaring that lawmakers have a duty to protect American democracy.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)
Cheney said that no president had committed a greater betrayal against the nation than Trump.
“The president could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence,” she said. “He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
Kinzinger said the country was in “uncharted waters,” but that he believed Trump had used his position to attack Congress.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection,” Kinzinger said. “If these actions ... are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense? I will vote in favor of impeachment.”
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)
Herrera Beutler said Trump directly “incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power” and said she, too, would vote to impeach him.
“The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have,” she said in a statement. “I believe in our Constitution, individual liberty, free markets, charity, life, justice, peace and this exceptional country. I see that my own party will be best served when those among us choose truth.”
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)
Newhouse said Wednesday he would vote yes on articles of impeachment, noting it was not a decision he took lightly.
“A vote against impeachment is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital,” he said. “It is also a vote to condone President Trump’s inaction. He did not strongly condemn the attack nor did he call in reinforcements when our officers were overwhelmed. Our country needed a leader, and President Trump failed to fulfill his oath of office.”
Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.)
Newly elected Meijer said Wednesday that he would vote “with a heavy heart” to impeach Trump.
“President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week,” he said in a statement.
Meijer had said Tuesday that he was strongly considering these plans.
“No condemnation, no urge to bring things back,” he said of Trump’s response. “To me, that was an abject failure of leadership and something just broke then.”
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)
In a statement announcing his support for impeachment, Gonzalez said “our democracy has been shaken” because of Trump’s actions.
“When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th, including the President’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack,” he said, “I am compelled to support impeachment.”
Rep Tom Rice (R-S.C.)
Rice released a statement about his decision after voting to impeach Trump.
“For hours while the riot continued, the President communicated only on Twitter and offered only weak requests for restraint,” he said. “I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.”
Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.)
Valadao said in a statement after the vote: “Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience. I voted to impeach Pres. Trump. His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.”