Above Photo: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signs article of impeachment against President Trump.
By Bob Gatty
With the impeachment of President Donald Trump by the House of Representatives that included support from 10 Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Rice (SC-7), HCDP Chair Don Kohn expressed the hope today that the nation can begin to heal the flames of division that have been fanned by Trump throughout his presidency.
“We are pleased that the House of Representatives today voted to impeach Trump for his actions,” said Kohn. “We are committed to supporting President Biden and are hopeful that our nation can begin to heal.”
The Senate is expected to begin an impeachment trial soon after it convenes following the January 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s most stalwart supporters, is expected to lead his defense.
Trump was impeached by the House for ”incitement of insurrection” when he told a huge crowd of his supporters at a White House rally to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” as Congress was meeting to certify the election of Biden and Harris.
While the fact that the 10 Republicans who voted with the Democrats to impeach Trump represents just a fraction of House Republicans, their support is significant and could help encourage additional support by enough Senate Republicans to convict Trump and prevent him from ever seeking federal office again.
“We have taken issue with Congressman Rice’s positions on major issues over the years, and were discouraged last week when he supported GOP efforts to overturn the presidential election in favor of Trump,” said Kohn.
“But we applaud Mr. Rice for examining his conscience and voting to punish Trump for his unconscionable encouragement of his supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell”. Those words incited the violence that followed and were directly responsible for the attempted insurrection that took place, costing the lives of five individuals, including two police officers.”
Last week, Rice signed documents that objected to the electoral college votes in five states. He explained that he was supporting the power of the state legislatures to control their own election. But it was that effort by Republicans, encouraged by Trump, that led to the violence on Wednesday, Jan. 6, as Congress was meeting to certify the electoral college votes.
The other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are Liz, Cheney (Wyoming), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Fred Upton (Michigan), Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and David Valadao (Calif.).
As the violence raged at the Capitol January 6, Rice could not believe that Trump failed to act to calm the crowd and call off the violence.
“Where is the president!?” he asked. “He must ask people to disperse and restore calm now.”
And then, just a week later when the roll was called in the House, Rice joined every Democrat in voting to impeach Trump.
“I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years,” he wrote in a statement that was distributed via social media. “I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.”
Rice’s vote, while angrily criticized by many previous supporters on his social media feeds, received a split decision by the leaders of the Horry County Republican Party.
Co-chair Dreama Perdue said that saying she was “severely disappointed…would be an understatement” and she believes Rice will have a difficult time getting reelected.
Shannon Grady, incoming president of the HC GOP Women’s Caucus said Rice committed “political suicide,” and must have “slipped into a coma” when he voted. “He is done,” she said.
However, co-chair Ed Carey said he was surprised but “very pleased” with Rice’s vote to impeach.
“I am looking forward to government leaders with less vitriol management style and politicians that can find common ground,” he said.