McMorris Rodgers casts no vote, says process was ‘political’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-4th District, was one of 10 Republican House members nationwide who voted for a second impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Newhouse and another Washington Republican, Jaime Herrera Beutler, 3rd District, contributed to the 232-197 vote in favor of impeachment on a charge of incitement of insurrection. Newhouse’s district includes Okanogan County; Herrera Beutler is from southwest Washington.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-5th District, voted against impeachment. Her district includes Ferry County.
“This is a sad day in our Republic — but not as sad or disheartening as the violence we witnessed at the Capitol last Wednesday,” said Newhouse in floor comments Jan. 13 as the House was voting. “We are all responsible.
“My colleagues are responsible for not condemning rioters this past year, like those who barricaded the doors of the Seattle Police Department and attempted to murder the officers inside. Others, including myself, are responsible for not speaking out sooner, before the president misinformed and inflamed a violent mob who tore down the American flag and brutally beat Capitol Police officers.”
He called for everyone to do better.
And, while he called the articles of impeachment flawed, he said he wouldn’t use “process” as an excuse.
“There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions,” said Newhouse, usually a staunch supporter of Trump. “The president took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol, and he did nothing to stop it.”
The mob of thousands went to the Capitol from a Trump “Save America Rally” earlier in the day. In his speech, Trump called the November 2020 election “rigged” and insisted he won the election, and said he hoped Vice President Mike Pence would “do the right thing” and challenge results of Electoral College voting that gave Democrat Joe Biden the presidential win.
In his speech, Trump urged the crowd to go to the Capitol. Once there, they broke into the building, where the electoral count was being finalized. House and Senate members were evacuated, and rioters entered and vandalized offices and the two chambers, and confronted Capitol Police.
Six people died, including a Capitol Police officer injured in the break-in and another officer who later apparently took his own life.
Newhouse said in his floor remarks that the domestic threat was why, “with a heavy heart, and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these impeachment articles.”
Before the impeachment vote, Newhouse said actions of the mob, “intent on disturbing the constitutional duties of Congress, resulted in the tragic loss of American lives, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. The mob was inflamed by the language and misinformation of the president of the United States.”
He called the situation “a pivotal and solemn moment in our country’s history,” adding that he believes the country and its system of government “may well be in jeopardy if we do not rise to this occasion. This is not a decision I take lightly.”
McMorris Rodgers said she analyzed the article of impeachment “through the lens that has guided my decision-making throughout my time in Congress: The oath I took to support and defend the Constitution.”
She said she did not believe Trump’s words constituted an incitement of violence as laid out in Supreme Court precedent.
McMorris Rodgers said she felt House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rushed the impeachment process and chose not to have hearings or extend debate on the questions at hand. She charged that Pelosi’s motives were “nothing more than politics.”
McMorris Rodgers pointed to the few days Trump has left in office, saying “let’s let the peaceful transfer of power take place.”
The FBI has issued warnings about possible threats of violence against every state capitol building, as well as the U.S. Capitol. Biden’s inaugural is set for today, Jan. 20.
“A vote against this impeachment is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital,” said Newhouse. “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.”
Newhouse, in a message to constituents, said Trump “saw a coequal branch of government under attack and did nothing to end the chaos while our brave law enforcement officers were overwhelmed. Instead, Vice President Pence was the authorizing figure that mobilized members of the D.C. National Guard while the Capitol was under siege.”
He said his decision to vote for impeachment “was the hardest decision I have made in my entire career, and it was not a decision I made lightly.”
A vote against impeachment was a vote to condone Trump’s inaction, Newhouse said.
“Our country needed a leader, and President Trump failed to fulfill his oath of office,” he said.
Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers have received both support and derision on their respective Facebook pages for their votes.