As House Impeaches Trump Again, Virginia’s Republican Representatives Vote No

Supporters of President Donald Trump surround the U.S. Capitol following a rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Brian Carlton

January 14, 2021

Three of the four said impeaching Trump is too divisive right now.

WASHINGTON D.C.- It would be too divisive. That’s the explanation Ben Cline, Bob Good and Rob Wittman gave as to why they voted against impeaching President Donald Trump a second time on Wednesday. All three Virginia representatives, along with fellow Virginia lawmaker Morgan Griffith, voted against impeachment. Despite their rejection, the impeachment passed the U.S. House, making history in two ways. 

First, Trump became the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. Even if the Senate rejects the case at the actual trial, both cases will remain on the record. Second, the vote finished at 232 to 197. That means 10 Republicans sided with Democrats on the vote. That’s more opposition party votes than any other impeachment in U.S. history, going all the way back to Andrew Johnson in 1868. 

RELATED: Most of Virginia’s Lawmakers Approved Stimulus Checks. Three Said No.

Trump Claims and the Truth 

This comes in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and Trump’s actions, both on that day and prior. Over more than two months, he and his legal team filed 64 challenges to the election in multiple states. Each has been rejected. In fact, Trump’s own legal team, in the actual filings, makes it clear they don’t actually believe the election was rigged. In the Bucks Co., Pa. case, the legal team made that clear. They wrote that “petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any fraud in connection with the challenged ballots.” 

And yet, despite this, the president kept claiming that the election was stolen. He did the same thing Jan. 6, encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol. And they did just that. 

“President Trump has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law,” the impeachment documents say. “His continued hold on the Office of the Presidency, even for only a few more days, represents a clear and present danger to the United States.”

As evidence, it cites Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

“He has spent months spreading disinformation about the results—falsely claiming that he “won by a landslide,” that the election was being “stolen,” and that the reported results are somehow fraudulent,” the report says. 

The document also points out that Trump threatened government officials in Georgia, ordering them to “find” lost votes or face criminal penalties. 

“[He] encouraged his own Vice President to unlawfully overturn the election results and, ultimately, incited his supporters to take violent action and prevent the counting of the election results,” the impeachment document states.  

Virginia Republicans Say No 

Virginia’s Republicans in the U.S. House rejected those arguments. The four men were among 197 Republicans that said no to a second impeachment. Some even said they oppose the president’s actions, but the vote would just make people mad. 

“My vote against impeachment in no way means I agree with the President’s actions and statements leading up to the storming and illegal entry of the Capitol building,” said Virginia House District 1 Rep. Rob Wittman. “But I believe impeaching the lame-duck president before the peaceful transition of power occurs will only further inflame emotions and further divide the nation. Our focus now needs to be on unifying our nation and moving forward as one.” 

Sixth District Rep. Ben Cline issued a nearly identical statement, again focusing on a need for unity. 

“Attempts to impeach the President in his final 8 days in office will only further fuel the political divide among our citizens and will be detrimental to long-term efforts to unify our country,” Cline said. “Now is a time to get back to work addressing the issues most important to the American people.” 

Ninth District Rep. Morgan Griffith didn’t issue a statement or respond to a request for comment. Newly-elected Fifth District Rep. Bob Good did, however. And in many ways, his statement said the same thing as his colleagues. 

“Moving forward with the 25th amendment or impeachment of a president just days before he plans to leave office will not bring the country together, but further divide us,” Good wrote. 

None of them mentioned the actual case at all, a complete 180-turn from the president’s first impeachment.

Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at [email protected].

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