In the second impeachment vote of President Donald Trump in less than a year, all three of Mississippi’s Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted with the minority Wednesday not to impeach President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-197 on Wednesday to impeach Trump after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in efforts to overturn the presidential victory of Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump is one of three U.S. presidents to be impeached, and he is the first U.S. president to be impeached on two occasions. Wednesday’s precise impeachment charge, incitement of insurrection, is unprecedented in American history. The U.S. Senate will likely hear the impeachment trial later this month, after Biden is inaugurated, and decide whether to convict Trump and bar him from seeking office in the future.
Though 10 House Republicans voted on Wednesday to impeach Trump, Republican Reps. Trent Kelly of the 1st congressional district in north Mississippi; Rep. Michael Guest of the 3rd district in central Mississippi; and Steven Palazzo of the 4th district in south Mississippi all voted not to impeach the president.
Mississippi’s lone Democratic U.S. representative, Bennie Thompson, whose 2nd district includes much of the Delta and the Jackson area, voted with the majority to impeach the president for his role in inciting rioters who attacked the Capitol in an attempt to force lawmakers to reject the vote count overwhelmingly awarding the November election to Joe Biden.
All three of Mississippi’s House Republicans said impeachment would further divide an already divided country.
But on social media, the Democrat Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said, “Moving forward with impeachment is divisive, but leading a charge in domestic terrorism isn’t? I think the other side needs help with their messaging.”
Kelly, who along with Guest met with a group of Mississippians who traveled to Washington, D.C., in hopes of overthrowing the election, said, “Today’s actions in the U.S. House of Representatives are not helpful to our nation. This is a time for healing, not division.”
Palazzo echoed similar comments, saying, “I earnestly believe this (impeachment) is the most inappropriate course of action at this time … It is abundantly clear that America is experiencing a time of uncertainty and turmoil, and we do not need to add more fuel to an already burning fire. President-elect Biden will be sworn into office … and, as President Trump promised, there will be a peaceful transition of power on Jan. 20.”
Earlier Guest announced his intentions to vote against the impeachment.
It is not clear when the Senate will take up the impeachment vote, but it is almost certain that by the time the Senate does, Trump will no longer be president.
When the Senate does take up the issue, Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo has said he will vote no. While Hyde-Smith has not sent out a statement, in an interview she recently said, “He’s got 10 days and he will leave office and let’s get on with things.”
Hyde-Smith, a staunch Trump ally, is expected to vote against the impeachment.
Hyde-Smith and the other Republicans in the congressional delegation, with the exception of Wicker, also all voted not to certify Biden’s win in Arizona and Pennsylvania on Wednesday – the same that the Capitol was attacked, resulting in five deaths, multiple injuries and widespread destruction. Wicker voted with the majority of Congress to certify the presidential election results of all 50 states.
Late in 2019, Trump was impeached for allegations of trying to force a foreign country to conduct a criminal investigation of the Biden family in exchange for receiving financial support.
All members condemned the Capitol violence.
Many of Mississippi’s elected Republican political leaders have been staunch supporters of the outgoing president. During a news conference on Monday, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves was asked if he thought Trump should resign or be removed from office. Reeves did not answer the question directly.
“I am not dodging the question,” Reeves replied, saying he did not have a vote in the United States House or Senate. He went on to say Trump’s tenure was near the end, and “we need to move on.”
The governor called the riots on the Capitol “disastrous” and said it caused him to “self reflect” on his and others’ political rhetoric. He said people need to accept that differences in America are settled through political debate and legislative bodies, and people “must recognize that is the way our system works.”
Reeves never specifically criticized Trump by name for his actions and rhetoric that have been condemned by both Republicans and Democrats and instead said, “I personally believe the rhetoric of Speaker Pelosi and many of her allies in the House was even more divisive and unnecessary.”