House Impeachment Vote Exposes Familiar Divide
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Like much of the process so far, and the state of domestic politics, Wednesday’s debate over the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump was split along party lines.
The House of Representatives began the day at 9 a.m., debating until about 8 p.m. over the resolutions – one charge of abuse of power and one of obstruction of Congress. The resolution on abuse of power passed 230-197, while the obstruction charge passed 229-198.
Two Democrats voted with Republicans on the first charge, while a third joined them on the second charge. Reaction was swift and predictable.
“The contrast between President Trump and the Democrats couldn’t be more clear. While the President rallied with tens of thousands of citizens in Michigan and celebrated the greatness and success of America, Democrats in D.C. completed their cold, calculated, and concocted 3-year impeachment sham and voted against 63 million Americans,” said Brad Parscale, manager of Trump’s reelection campaign, in response to the vote.
Yesterday’s vote was destined since Nov. 8, 2016, the day Trump was elected, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, said in a statement emailed following the vote.
“Democrats continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election, and have openly talked about impeaching President Trump since before he was even sworn into office. Their hate has been on display for everyone to see,” Johnson said. “Once their Russian collusion fantasies were shattered, House Democrats quickly pivoted to a new fake scandal over President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.”
Democrats provided no evidence that Trump committed “high crimes or misdemeanors” and Johnson predicted that the Senate would acquit Trump, leaving the country more divided than before. “While this is a sad chapter in our history, I have full confidence that the majority of the American people will see this charade for what it is,” he added.
Before the vote, Johnson called for a moment of silence (WATCH VIDEO).
“This partisan impeachment sham seeks to disenfranchise 63 million American voters,” he said. “I want to use my time to call on this chamber to rise and observe a moment of silent reflection, to give every member here the chance to pause for a moment and remember the voices of the 63 million voters [that] the Democrats, today, are wanting to silence. … Disenfranchising 63 million Americans gives me 63 million reasons to vote no.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16 Pa., said he is proud to stand with Trump “against this charade” by voting against both articles.
“It’s ironic that House Democrats accuse President Trump of abusing his power as they blatantly abuse theirs by pursuing a purely partisan impeachment of a duly-elected president,” Kelly said in a statement. “We know this was never about protecting the Constitution, upholding oaths of office, or any of the other self-righteous reasons Democrats are using to justify it, because they committed to this the day the president was elected. The effort to remove him from office has always been about political vengeance and damaging his 2020 re-election campaign.”
Earlier, Kelly likened the pro-impeachment votes to Dec. 7, 1941, the date of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“President Roosevelt said this is a day that will live in infamy. Dec. 18, 2019, is another date that will live in infamy. Just because you hate the president of the United States and you can find no other reason than the fact that you’re so blinded by your hate that you can’t see straight, that you’ve decided the only way we can make sure the president isn’t elected again is to impeach him,” Kelly said. “I would urge all members of the House to vote no on impeachment and look their voters in the eye — I tell you, voters will remember next November what happens this December.”
The Ohio Republican Party characterized the process as a “charade” and a “partisan witch-hunt.” In a statement, chairwoman Jane Timken called out Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, for “standing in the way of President Trump no matter what he does.
“Their refusal to ever work cooperatively with the president only hurts Americans. Voters see and understand all of this, and it has only fired up our base as we prepare for 2020 and an overwhelming Trump victory,” she continued.
Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said he cast his vote for impeachment “with a heavy heart,” but that the United States can’t have a president who is above the law. The Founding Fathers established Congress in Article 1 of the Constitution to act as a check on the executive branch, a duty “not held lightly,” he said.
“If my constituents do something wrong then they face the consequences. There is overwhelming evidence that the President used his public office and taxpayer money for personal and political gain,” Ryan said. “His actions threaten our free and fair elections, our national security, and our democracy. Today, the House of Representative voted to hold him accountable.”
Ryan urged his colleagues in the Senate, which is responsible for trying Trump under the two articles, to “remember the sacred oath they swore to uphold and put country before party.” Removing Trump from office would require a two-thirds majority vote by that chamber, once it receives the articles from the House.
“This is a solemn day for our country and an important one for the future of our democracy,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said. “We are following the process laid out by the founders in the Constitution, and every Senator owes it to the American people to be an impartial juror focused on the facts. I will listen to the evidence and weigh the facts of the case before coming to any decision. I urge my colleagues, of both parties, to do the same.”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the House “rightly carried out its constitutional responsibility” by voting to impeach, whom he called “the most corrupt president in our history” He called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to conduct a full and fair trial to hold this president accountable,” and pledged to uphold his responsibility as a juror.
Pictured: Members of the House vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Image: Associated Press, Patrick Semansky)
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.