POLITICS

GOP Rep. John Katko Says He Will Vote To Impeach Trump

Katko of New York is the first Republican House member to publicly back Democrats’ push to impeach the outgoing president.

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he would vote to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, becoming the first Republican House member to publicly back Democrats’ push to impeach the outgoing president.

Katko said in a statement that Trump had to be held to account for the role he played in the insurrectionist attack. A mob of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol last Wednesday, forcing lawmakers — who’d gathered to formally certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory — to seek shelter and evacuate the building.

Trump had told a crowd of his supporters shortly before the attack that he would “never concede” to Biden and urged them to “fight much harder” against “bad people.” At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the violence.

“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.”

Democrats said Monday that the House would vote Wednesday to impeach Trump for the second time; more than 218 Democrats have co-sponsored the impeachment resolution.

Though no House Republicans voted for Trump’s impeachment last December — over his alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — several are considering backing impeachment this time.

Shortly after Katko’s announcement on Tuesday, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said that they too would vote to impeach Trump.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney said in a statement, adding: “I will vote to impeach the President.”

Kinzinger said in his statement that there was “no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.” 

In his statement, Katko said that Trump put “countless lives in danger” with his actions last week ― which ultimately compelled the congressman to act.

“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection ― both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day,” Katko said. “By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.”