The House of Representatives voted 232-197 on Wednesday evening to impeach Donald Trump for a second time.
The gesture is wholly symbolic in nature. The Senate will only reconvene next Tuesday, the day before Trump’s term in office ends. Even if the Senate held an unprecedentedly-rushed impeachment show trial, Trump could only be booted from office with a few hours left of his term.
But if the vote is symbolic, that doesn’t mean it is meaningless. Ten Republicans chose to join Democrats in impeaching the president. They are:
-Liz Cheney of Wyoming
-Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington
-David Valadao of California
-John Katko of New York
-Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
-Peter Meijer of Michigan
-Fred Upton of Michigan
-Tom Rice of South Carolina
-Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
-Dan Newhouse of Washington
This matters. Those Republicans who chose to vote Trump out of office aren’t just impeaching the President. They’re impeaching everyone who voted for him, everything his administration accomplished, despite the fact that this president remains overwhelmingly popular with Republicans.
Fred Upton was one of the first Republicans to announce his intent to impeach and remove the president. His statement read in part:
The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next. Thus, I will vote to impeach. [Fred Upton]
Congressman Upton claims to be very concerned about “peaceful” behavior by the U.S. president. Of course, President Trump never once encouraged violence against Congress or anyone else. It is a malicious lie by the left, a lie that Upton seems happy to spread.
Upton had a very different attitude last summer, when massive race riots convulsed the entire country based on the lie that George Floyd was murdered by vicious racists. Back then, Upton was happy to downplay rioting and swear allegiance to those egging the violence on:
I participated in the peaceful protest Sunday afternoon in Benton Harbor with Mayor Marcus Muhammad and a number of Benton Harbor elected officials. Accountability is the key ingredient for us all to be judged on our actions. The circumstances surrounding the tragic and chilling death of George Floyd certainly seem to be without mystery to most of us outsiders and justice needs to be pursued in a swift course. And, what happened there needs to serve as yet another waking moment for the rest of us to take into account as it relates to our jobs and lives. [Fred Upton]
Weeks later, Upton was boasting about voting to appease rioters with new anti-police legislation, even as crime exploded in America’s cities. Anthony Gonzales, another impeachment supporter, was making the same boast.
Over the past several weeks, Americans around the nation have called for changes to our law enforcement system after the tragic death of George Floyd. I am proud to be part of that change by introducing the JUSTICE Act alongside a number of my colleagues. https://t.co/R5wAHQzUW1
— Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (@RepAGonzalez) June 18, 2020
The most damning statement of all, though, is the one from Wyoming representative Liz Cheney:
On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.
Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. [Liz Cheney]
Cheney’s wording entirely buys into the Democratic view of what happened last week: That the riot smashing up the capital was in fact an “insurrection,” plotted by the President for the purpose of toppling the government.
This is a lie. So why is Cheney promoting it? If Cheney were just an obscure backbencher, or a RINO seeking to change parties, her words would matter little. But Cheney is anything but. Cheney is chair of the House Republican Conference, effectively the #3 Republican in the House. Cheney declined a chance to jump to the Senate, indicating her ultimate goal is to become Speaker of the House.
Wednesday’s impeachment vote is another step in this direction. It hardly matters that most Republicans stood by the president’s right to finish his elected term. Cheney’s vote will be spun as a “profile in courage” and a display of “leadership” marking her worthy of controlling the future Republican Party. Even Republicans who voted differently will be pressured to get behind her.
Republican voters should not be fooled. As Revolver warned just a few short weeks ago, Liz Cheney’s driving goal is to reverse Donald Trump’s influence over the party and restore the disastrous Bush-era party consensus:
All of that is Liz Cheney in a nutshell, then: A leadership bid built completely on reviving the 2004 Republican Party of Middle Eastern wars, NSA surveillance, cratering to the left’s values, and wasting whatever wealth and freedom of action America still has left.
Liz Cheney has no constituency within the modern GOP base. She has no vision for America, other than the catastrophic one espoused by her father and President Bush. The only reason to have Liz Cheney prominent in American politics at all is to show how debased our ruling class has become, by allowing the disgraced Cheney name to return to prominence. But make no mistake: Washington wants that to happen. [Revolver]
For Cheney and those like her, last week’s riot is a golden opportunity. Getting rid of Trump is truly the least of their priorities. After all, he will be out of office in a matter of days. What this vote is really about is a flailing attempt to use the stain of impeachment to destroy the Trump political movement forever. It’s a shot in the dark to write off the millions of Americans who were left behind by the Republican Party and found a champion in Donald Trump. It’s a desperate attempt to call them the irredeemable deplorables that Hillary Clinton dubbed them five years ago.
For four years, D.C. Republicans have dreamed of crushing the Trump movement and going back to how things were before, where they always lost in the end but were paid and treated well for going along with it. Now, they think they might be able to do it, and many are seizing the opportunity.
The establishment’s transparent gambit is doomed to failure, just like the disastrous wars Liz Cheney’s family is responsible for promoting. President Trump remains a cherished and beloved leader of the Republican party due to his force of personality, his willingness to champion the forgotten American and engage the domestic enemies of America on the field of battle, and the conservative populist agenda he championed while in the White House. Any Republican who backs a second impeachment, and its attack on the party’s own abandoned voters, is likely to have no future in the party, or in electoral politics.
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