CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time, as lawmakers on Wednesday approved the impeachment resolution.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump, a week after a mob supporting the president led a violent demonstration at the U.S. Capitol. The resolution charges the president for inciting the insurrection by repeating false statements about widespread voter fraud, including during a speech in front of the White House before the riot.
The violence halted the certification of the presidential election, in which some Republicans supported objecting to the results from multiple states.
Democrats unanimously voted for the impeachment resolution. Ten Republicans, including House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., backed the measure.
Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. — who voted to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win — said the impeachment will not ease tensions around Capitol Hill and across the country.
“Like anyone else, I am angry about what happened,” the congressman said in a statement. “But history is replete with poor judgments made in anger leading to knee jerk reactions.”
McKinley added Trump bears responsibility for the violence, but also criticized other elected officials, social media platforms and “the 24-7 news media that seek out controversy” for intensifying political discussion and discourse.
“Ultimately, the people responsible for this heinous act — whether they committed violence or incited the crowds — will be held accountable. But right now, it is imperative that we turn down the temperature and restore calm to this country,” he said.
Fellow Republicans Alex Mooney and Carol Miller objected to some states’ votes; Mooney voted in objection to Pennsylvania’s votes and backed a challenge to Nevada’s results. Miller opposed certifying the votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Mooney said Trump’s Jan. 6 remarks before the riot are protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. Mooney also noted Trump did not directly call on supporters to commit violent acts.
“Today’s vote to impeach the President lacks constitutional merit and only adds to further anger and division in America,” he said. “President Trump has seven days left in office and he has repeatedly, including today, called for a peaceful transition of power. Now is the time to put partisan politics aside and work together for the best interest of America.”
Miller also urged unity, noting Trump’s set departure from office.
“While we may disagree on this issue and others, every single member of the House of Representatives wants the same thing for our constituents and our nation — a safe, free, and prosperous country,” she said. “We might disagree on how we achieve those goals, but our shared values are stronger than our disagreements. Every member, regardless of their vote today or in the future, deserves the respect due to any individual to serve the public to the best of their ability.”
McKinley, Mooney and Miller on Tuesday opposed a resolution requesting Vice President Mike Pence mobilize members of the Cabinet and remove Trump from office. Pence said in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., he would not take such action.
Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only other presidents to be impeached, with Trump having the distinction of being the only president impeached twice. The House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump in December 2019 over his contact with Ukraine’s president. The Senate acquitted Trump the following February.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate would be unable to reach a verdict before Inauguration Day. He additionally stressed the importance of helping the next administration take office.
“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” McConnell said.
“I am grateful to the offices and institutions within the Capitol that are working around the clock, alongside federal and local law enforcement, to prepare for a safe and successful inauguration at the Capitol next Wednesday.”
The New York Times reported McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable actions and the related proceedings would make it easier for the Republican Party to separate itself from Trump.
McConnell told colleagues on Wednesday he has not made a final decision.
Biden, who will become the United States’ 46th president, called on the Senate to balance the impeachment trial and the responsibilities associated with a new administration, including the confirmation of Cabinet positions.
“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” the president-elect said. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has stated Trump should be impeached, but told Fox News the move would be “ill-advised” with Biden’s inauguration looming. The office of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., did not return a request for comment.