In a move opposed by all Utah congressmen, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President for alleged “incitement of insurrection.” (Photo courtesy of TheHill.Com)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, without the support of a single House member from Utah.
Representing northern Utah, U.S. Rep. Blake Moore voiced his objection to the impeachment vote on the House floor and in a prepared statement issued by his staff.
“A rushed impeachment will set a dangerous a precedent as a misguided attempt to overturn state-certified elections,” the freshman congressman said, referring to the apparent motive that sparked a deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “Without a single hearing or investigation, I simply cannot reach the high bar of impeachment.”
But Moore added that his nay vote on the issue of impeachment did not signal unequivocal support for the embattled president. Instead, Moore said that he has joined nine GOP congressional colleagues in introducing a censure resolution that he believes will provide a swifter and more constitutional path to accountability for Trump’s alleged encouragement of violence.
In advancing the censure proposal, Moore joined fellow U.S. Rep. John Curtis of Utah and other House members in advocating for a rebuke to Trump that is less likely to have long-term political ramifications. That resolution is supported by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House minority leader.
Despite the opposition of Moore and 196 GOP House members, the House approved the article of impeachment forwarded by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that charged the president with “incitement of insurrection.” The measure passed with 222 Democrats voting yea, along with 10 Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Moore acknowledged that even his support for the lesser censure resolution will be controversial to some in northern Utah.
“To my critics – and there will be many – please know that this was the most painful decision of my life, “ Moore explained. “I ache for the families of those who were killed … and for those who will relive this trauma for years to come. Please know that I demand justice for Jan. 6, but a snap impeachment is not the answer.”
The ultimate impact of the House impeachment vote may be symbolic, given that President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration is only a week away on Jan. 20.
Trump can only be removed from office after being convicted by a two-thirds vote of the U.S. Senate. The Senate is now in recess until Jan. 19 and Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky cannot call that body back into session without the unanimous consent of all 100 of its members.
With that timetable, a formal Senate trial for Trump would likely have to be scheduled after he leaves office.
Following the recent Senate run-off elections in Georgia, the upper chamber of Congress will be evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans when the Senate reconvenes. House prosecutors would therefore have to convince 17 GOP senators to ignore party loyalty to achieve the necessary votes to convict Trump of inciting violence on Jan. 6.
The only GOP senator to vote for Trump’s conviction in his previous January 2020 impeachment trial was Mitt Romney of Utah.