WASHINGTON D.C. — When the U.S. House of Representatives made Donald Trump the first president ever to be impeached twice on Wednesday, all but one of Ohio’s lawmakers voted with their party.
Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez was the lone defector, becoming one of just 10 Republican House members to impeach the president of their own party.
What You Need To Know
- Rep. Gonzalez was one of 10 GOP House members to vote yes
- Most Ohio Republicans called the impeachment rushed and political
- Ohio Democrats unanimously condemned Trump
“The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution,” Gonzalez said in a statement released during Wednesday’s vote. “During the attack itself, the president abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present.”
See my full statement on impeachment below. pic.twitter.com/pBBYRI2RUP— Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (@RepAGonzalez) January 13, 2021
Gonzalez (R, 16th Congressional District) split with Ohio’s 11 other Republican House members who wrote off the impeachment process as rushed and political.
“The majority is ramming through this House the most potent tool at our disposal without a single hearing, turning a process that usually takes months into a few short hours,” Rep. Steve Chabot (R, 1st Congressional District) said on the House floor.
Fellow Ohio Republicans agreed.
“It’s 100 percent political and, frankly, it will further divide the country,” Rep. Warren Davidson (R, 8th Congressional District) said in an interview Wednesday. “It will accentuate the divisions instead of accentuating the points of unity. It will inflame the sentiment that’s already out there.”
After the vote, I read part of Gonzalez’s statement to Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan (R, 4th Congressional District) and asked if he agreed with anything Gonzalez said.
“No, I don’t,” Jordan told me. “And look, every member can vote how he or she thinks they need to vote, I fully respect that. But I just disagree.”
Jordan, one of Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, spent much of Wednesday on the House floor criticizing Democrats and insisting Trump shouldn’t be removed.
“This doesn’t unite the country,” Jordan said during the floor debate. “There’s no way this helps the nation deal with the tragic and terrible events of last week that we all condemn.”
Other Ohio Republicans who voted against impeachment still had strong words for Trump.
In a statement released after the vote, Dayton-area Congressman Mike Turner (R, 10th Congressional District) said, “In less than a week, President Trump is leaving office disgraced and discredited for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.”
Columbus-area Rep. Steve Stivers (R, 15th Congressional District) said in his own statement, “In seven days, President-elect Biden will occupy the White House, and President Trump will be a private citizen, subject to the rule of law and the judgement of the judicial system.”
The Republicans who voted against impeachment infuriated Ohio Democrats who argued it was the only proper form of accountability following the deadly Capitol attack.
“Last week’s insurrection was shocking and tragic,” Rep. Joyce Beatty (D, 3rd Congressional District) said on the House floor. “It was a culmination of four years of assaults on our democracy. We must impeach this president.”
In a Zoom interview on Monday, northeast Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D, 13th Congressional District) said there needed to be accountability.
“You need consequences for your actions,” Ryan said. “It’d set a terrible precedent for the president of the United States to foment an insurrection, direct people to go overturn a legal election in the nation’s capital, and the Congress have no response.”
The article of impeachment now heads to the U.S. Senate where a trial is likely to begin following Joe Biden taking office Jan. 20.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has already said Trump should be impeached and convicted, but Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) hasn’t announced his decision yet.