January 13, 2021

Trump impeached for second time

Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland Flickr cc

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time, with two of the three representatives, both Democrats, in New Mexico’s delegation voting in favor of the historic vote on Wednesday.

The House voted 237-197 to impeach Trump, saying that Trump incited violence and the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week when his supporters took control of the building, driving lawmakers into hiding while some called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Trump is the first person to be impeached twice. Ten Republicans voted along with all Democrats to impeach Trump, after no Republicans voted to impeach Trump in 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate voted to acquit Trump of those charges in February of 2020.

The ten members of his own party were the most to vote to impeach a president of their own party in the nation’s history. In the previous high, five Democrats voted to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998.

U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez did not mince words in a statement after her vote, where she said Trump’s “words are filled with hatred and rooted in white supremacy.”

“Trump’s never-ending lies and violent rhetoric incited a domestic terrorist attack against our country,” the freshman representative said. “He broke his oath of office and put lives in danger. Donald Trump will go down in history as a traitor and a coward.”

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland also voted for impeachment. Haaland was announced as Biden’s choice for Secretary of the Interior.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, a staunch ally of Trump and the lone Republican in the New Mexico congressional delegation, voted against the impeachment. Herrell also joined a majority of House Republicans in voting against the certification of ballots last week, even after the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters.

In an email to supporters, Herrell wrote that she was “proud to stand with President Trump” and said “the Democrat’s [sic] rush to impeach the President – again – is simply creating more partisan division at a time when our country needs unity more than ever.”

She also said “we were all disgusted by last week’s violence at the Capitol.”

The next step of a trial in the Senate won’t happen until Trump is out of office after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not bring the Senate back before Jan. 19, just a day before President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

In a statement after the vote, McConnell said “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”

He also said that he believed “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 transition of power to the incoming Biden administration.”

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, in a statement, disagreed with McConnell.

“Now that President Trump has been impeached by a bipartisan vote in the House, the Senate has a duty to the Constitution and to the American people to act quickly to take up these charges,” Heinrich said. “This man is a clear and present danger to our republic. He is not fit to serve as our president for one minute longer or to hold public office ever again.”

Sen. Ben Ray Luján said he would vote to remove Trump.

“As members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ Today, bipartisan members of the House honored that oath by impeaching President Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” Luján said. “The Senate now has the constitutional duty to act, and I will stand up for our republic, defend our democracy, and vote for removal.” 

The Republican Party of New Mexico, which also has stood by Trump even after last week’s insurrection, said “it defies imagination why Democrats would pursue this divisive process.”

Correction: This story originally said there were three Democrats in the congressional delegation. There are three total, two of whom are Democrats and one is a Republican.