Miami’s three Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against impeaching President Donald Trump over his role in a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol that led to five deaths.
Reps. Carlos Gimenez, Mario Diaz-Balart and Maria Elvira Salazar all voted against one article of impeachment, titled “incitement of insurrection” and drafted by Democrats within hours of last week’s riot. Every Democrat in the House, including South Florida Reps. Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Ted Deutch, voted in favor of impeaching Trump.
“Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed ... unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts,” the article said.
The article of impeachment passed the House of Representatives on a 232-197 vote, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to send the impeachment article to the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a potential trial would not begin before Trump’s term ends on Jan. 20.
Trump is now the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Unlike his 2019 impeachment, when Democrats argued that he solicited foreign interference for his 2020 reelection bid, the 2021 impeachment effort includes Republicans. The 10 Republicans who voted to impeach included Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican.
But most Republicans voted against impeachment. In a statement, Diaz-Balart said impeaching Trump is “divisive.”
“During this time of tension and division — when we should be focused on healing — Speaker Pelosi continues to push acts that further divide our nation,” Diaz-Balart said. “Impeaching the president exactly one week before his term is complete is unnecessarily divisive and unwise.”
Gimenez said the impeachment process was “rushed.”
“Voting for a rushed measure not only further divides our nation, it denies the American people a proper avenue to the facts,” Gimenez said in a statement.
Since Election Day, Miami’s House Republicans have stood by Trump as he and his allies continued to make false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.” Gimenez and Diaz-Balart voted in favor of challenging Arizona and Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes and did not acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect until after last week’s deadly riot.
Salazar wasn’t sworn in until Tuesday after being hospitalized with a heart arrhythmia and testing positive for COVID-19, and hasn’t said if she supported GOP efforts to question the legitimacy of Electoral College votes.
Miami’s House Republicans did not speak on the House floor during the impeachment debate or signal ahead of time how they would vote. All of Miami’s Democrats said prior to the vote that they supported impeachment. Wasserman Schultz spoke in favor of impeachment on the House floor before the vote, while Deutch, Wilson and Hastings all voted remotely.
The majority of House Republicans voted to challenge Arizona and Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes last week.
Salazar cast her first vote on Tuesday night, on a symbolic resolution to urge Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. The 25th Amendment resolution was called a “publicity stunt” by Diaz-Balart because Pence had already written a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he wasn’t going to convene the Cabinet to remove Trump from office.
Miami’s House members cast their impeachment votes as about 3,000 National Guard soldiers slept on the floor of the U.S. Capitol building to protect lawmakers, and the Capitol complex resembled a military base. Pelosi also required all members of Congress to pass through metal detectors before entering the House chamber. Some Republican members barreled through the metal detectors or walked around them.
While some Senate Republicans — including Majority Leader McConnell — say Trump may have committed impeachable offenses, Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are not expected to vote to convict Trump if an impeachment trial is held. Unlike impeachment, which can pass on a majority vote, convicting Trump in the Senate will require a two-thirds majority vote, meaning 67 would have to vote for conviction if all 100 senators are present.