Area Delegation Toes Party Line in Impeachment Vote

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Congressional representatives in the region voted along party lines on the issue of impeaching President Donald J. Trump.

A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, on a 232-197 vote that included 10 Republicans, voted to impeach Trump for a second time. The vote makes Trump the first president to be impeached twice.

The resolution accused Trump of “incitement of insurrection” based on his remarks at a Jan. 6 rally and his attempt to encourage a Georgia elections official to find the votes to overturn the state’s results.

Trump has claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and massive fraud took place. Following his remarks at the rally, his supporters marched to the U.S. Capitol as both houses of Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election and invaded the Capitol Building.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said he voted for impeachment after the U.S. House of Representatives received confirmation from Vice President Mike Pence that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before former Vice President Joe Biden is inaugurated a week from now.

“There is no place in our democracy for a president who incites violence to overturn the result of a free and fair election. After Vice President Pence failed to act, the House was left with no choice but to impeach this dangerous and unfit president,” Ryan said in a statement.

“I stood today with lawmakers from many different states and political backgrounds, and we said in no uncertain terms: democracy will not be intimidated,” he continued. “President Trump’s dangerous behavior will remain a stain on our nation’s history, but we will carry forward and ensure there is a peaceful transition of power on Jan. 20.”

U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly, R-16 Pa., and Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, joined the majority of their fellow Republicans to vote against the resolution.

Trump did not commit “an impeachable offense” when he told those attending the Jan. 6 rally “to protest peacefully and make their voices heard,” Kelly said.

“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,” he said. “If America is to come together, political games have to stop. Impeachment of a president for First Amendment protected speech just days before he leaves office is not a step toward unity.”

A spokesman for Johnson said there would not be a statement forthcoming Wednesday night. BeforeTuesday’s vote on the resolution urging Pence to enact the 25th Amendment, the congressman predicted that invoking it or impeachment would widen the nation’s divisions.

“America is deeply divided. The events of last week’s riots at our nation’s capital, as well as the riots and violence that have rocked American cities across the country over this last year testify to that,” he said

“I urge House and Senate leaders to stop the political showboating, let the smooth transition of power complete next week, and let’s get back to work doing the work the American people rightfully expect us to do…and, that work is to represent them,” he added.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said that if the Senate proceeds with the trial, he will “do [his] duty as a juror and listen to the cases presented by both sides.

“As I said yesterday, the attack on the US Capitol was an attack on democracy itself, and the President bears some responsibility for what occurred. It was important that the President clearly stated today that violence of any kind is unacceptable,” Portman continued in his statement. “President-elect Biden has rightly said he wants to set a new tone of greater unity as his administration begins. All of us should be concerned about the polarization in our country and work toward bringing people together. If the Senate conducts an impeachment trial, among my considerations will be what is best to help heal our country rather than deepen our divisions.”

Pictured: President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.