The No. 3 Republican in the House wants the president to face the consequences of his actions, even as Trump denies any responsibility for the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol.
In a significant move that signals Republicans’ growing discontent and clear break with President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., chair of the House Republican Conference, voted to impeach Trump for “summoning” the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, and for lighting “the flame” of the attack that took five lives and sowed more division in the country.
Six days before her vote, as Trump delivered the speech that roused his followers to attack, breaking windows, ransacking private offices, and reportedly smearing excrement in the hallways as they invaded the Capitol, Trump was singling Cheney out to the mob.
“We got to get rid of the weak congress people, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world,” the president said in the speech.
Now the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the No. 3 Republican in the House wants Trump to face the consequences of his actions, even as Trump continues to take no responsibility for his role in inciting the attackers.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney said in a statement, as she noted that Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters, but he did not, allowing the violence to escalate.
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked about Cheney’s decision, Pelosi praised her “for honoring her oath of office,” while telling reporters she hopes that “more Republicans would honor their oaths of office.”
GOP Discontent Grows
Cheney was joined in voting yes on impeachment by other Republican colleagues like Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, John Katko of New York and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection,” John Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said in a statement. “To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action,” he added.
This action would mark the first time a sitting president is impeached twice—moreover, for the second time in 13 months, and just a week from completing his term in office.
If the president is found culpable, Vice President Mike Pence would be the interim commander-in-chief until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, when he will become the 46th president of the US.