For the second time during President Donald Trump’s presidency, and the fourth time in American history, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach the President of the United States.
On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted forward one article of impeachment, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” over the riots that took place at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 6, following a rally led by Trump. The House voted 232-197 to impeach the president.
While ten Republicans in Congress joined with Democrats in voting to impeach the president in this vote, Pennsylvania’s 18 member Congressional delegation fell entirely along party lines.
All 9 members of Pennsylvania’s Democratic delegation voted to impeach Trump, while all 9 Republicans voted against it.
Democrats said that impeachment was warranted citing the president’s actions leading up to and on the day of the riots.
“A domestic terrorist attack occurred on American soil against our country’s very Capital,” Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) said in a release following the vote. “This attack was incited by the President of the United States; his actions are a clear and present threat not only to our Democratic Republic but also to our national security.”
“The President has abdicated his responsibility to safeguard this nation. In accordance with my oath of office to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, I voted today to impeach the President,” Houlahan continued.
Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) cited similar reasons in a release explaining his decision to vote to impeach Trump and touted being one of the first members of Congress to support impeaching Trump back in 2018.
“I was one of the earliest congressional supporters of impeaching Trump because he keeps demonstrating he is unfit for office,” Evans said. “I was one of just 58 House members to vote for impeachment in 2018.”
“I did not come to Congress with impeachment in mind, but no one can be above the rule of law in America,” Evans continued. “His incitement of a violent riot that led to the deaths of six people demonstrates that he is a threat to America and must be removed from power now.”
Republicans defended Trump and accused their colleagues who supported the impeachment effort of playing partisan politics and sowing further division in the nation.
“I don’t believe President Trump committed an impeachable offense when he told those at the rally to protest peacefully and make their voices heard,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) said in a release following the vote. “He did not tell them to commit violence, and he and all of Congress have rightfully condemned the rioters who breached the U.S. Capitol.”
“If America is to come together, political games have to stop,” Kelly continued. “Impeachment of a president for First Amendment protected speech just days before he leaves office is not a step toward unity.”
“Absolutely no one in our Nation deserves punishment without due process — no one,” said Rep. Scott Perry (R-York). “This hasty rush to judgement may serve as political paybacks and scintillating sound bites for some, but today’s sham of an impeachment wouldn’t be fit for the Inquisition or prairie justice — it’s an embarrassing and dangerous stunt that furthers our American divide, and I proudly voted against it.”
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), who was the lone Republican in the state’s congressional delegation to support certifying the state’s electoral votes for former Vice President Joe Biden on January 7, stood with his GOP colleagues in this vote and opposed impeachment.
Fitzpatrick’s statement after voting no on impeachment pointed to a resolution that he introduced on Tuesday, alongside several other GOP colleagues, that called for Congress to censure Trump for “attempting to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and for violating his oath of office” on the day of the riots.
The state’s congressional delegation was split down the middle on Tuesday night as well when the House approved a resolution by a 223-to-205 vote calling on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. 9 Democrats voting to approve this resolution, while the 9 Republicans voted no.
Although that resolution passed the House, Pence said he will not invoke the 25th Amendment.
During Trump’s first impeachment in December 2019, the state’s congressional delegation also fell entirely along party lines with 9 members of the Democratic delegation voting for both articles, while all 9 Republicans voted against it.