WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to his words that sent a deadly, riotous mob to Congress one week ago, New Hampshire’s Democratic U.S. Reps. Ann McLane Kuster and Chris Pappas voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday accusing the president of “incitement of insurrection.”
The historic House vote, the first in which a president has been impeached twice on the articles of impeachment, was 232-197 with 10 Republicans joining Democrats.
The quick impeachment process, one week before Trump is to leave office, now goes to the U.S. Senate for a trial in which a two-thirds majority must find him guilty to be stripped of office and forever banned from running for any federal office. This will require the support of 17 members who are Republicans and will occur after he has taken leave of his office on Jan. 20.
New Hampshire’s Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan said they think Trump should be impeached and will support such a move.
Kuster sent a Facebook message out before the vote that both Republicans and Democrats swore the same oath to protect and defend the Constitution and “we must act with unity and purpose to protect the American people from a president who is dangerous and unfit to serve in office for one minute longer.”
She voted by proxy as many other House members did after rules were expanded to allow for members’ concerns about COVID-19. She is awaiting the return of results from a test after having been exposed to the virus, potentially during the siege.
After the vote Kuster said: “It is the solemn duty of Congress to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution and the American people and to serve as a check on the executive branch. It is in accordance with that duty that today, I supported the House resolution to impeach President Trump. As the House Judiciary Committee’s report articulates, ‘Impeachment is not a punishment of prior wrongs, but protection against future evils. It is true that President Trump’s remaining term is limited — but a president capable of fomenting a violent insurrection against the Capitol is capable of greater dangers still. He must be removed from office as swiftly as the Constitution allows.’
“President Trump’s actions are beyond dereliction of duty — what took place last week was sedition. It’s our duty to remove him from office and ensure that he is disqualified from holding office in the future. That is why today — joined by several Republican colleagues — I voted for impeachment. I urge the Senate to take action, and protect our democracy from further bloodshed or damage caused by this dangerous president,” Kuster said.
In a statement after the vote, Pappas said: “One week ago today, a mob armed with guns, zip ties, Molotov cocktails, and the intention of stopping the certification of a democratic election stormed the U.S. Capitol as the world looked on in shock and disbelief…They ransacked a branch of government, intent on disrupting the Democratic process, taking members of Congress hostage, and causing unprecedented chaos and fear. They were inspired and incited to do so by President Trump.
“I did not come to Congress to impeach a President, but today I have no choice. I will not turn a blind eye to what we witnessed one week ago by President Trump, his supporters, and his enablers in Congress, as that would be an abdication of the oath I swore to uphold,” Pappas said.
The vote, Pappas said, was not about politics but “stabilizing our country, ensuring accountability, and showing the world who we really are.”
Just a little over a year ago the entire New Hampshire delegation voted to impeach Trump for his efforts in Ukraine to bully its elected leadership into handing over dirt on one of the sons of Trump’s rivals for political gain.
While the House voted to impeach, it ended in a February 2020 acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate. No House Republicans voted to impeach Trump then, but 10 were convinced Wednesday that this was a different matter.
This time, the charge of “incitement of insurrection” was leveled to terminate the president for his leadership in directing a mob whom he asked to “fight like hell” at a rally moments before the attack on Congress, on a day when both chambers were there certifying the election he lost, though he falsely claimed that it was stolen from him.
For the first time, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, one of Trump’s biggest allies, said Wednesday during debate on House Resolution 24 that the President bears responsibility for the attack and should have immediately called for its end.
McCarthy said he mourned the lives lost, including two police officers, but he said impeachment would only further divide the country.
“All must resist the temptation for further polarization,” McCarthy told fellow House members. Instead, he supported the concept of a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution for Trump.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump has committed a “high crime or misdemeanor” called for in impeachment and justice must prevail, noting the “domestic terrorists” were sent to the Congress by the president to interrupt the body while it fulfilled its Constitutional obligation to certify the election of a new president, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Democratic House members recounted their experiences noting the oldest democracy in the world was shaken to its core by last week’s attack on the Capitol and that Trump must pay the political price of impeachment. They all voted to impeach.
Last Wednesday, when Trump concluded his remarks to thousands of supporters who then headed to the Capitol, Congressman Pappas of Manchester was able to safely exit and return to his apartment while Kuster, of Hopkinton, who was in the House chamber, spent hours in a safe room with other lawmakers – some of them refusing to wear masks – as thousands of Trump supporters converged upon and ransacked the Capitol, leading to five deaths.
Trump has refused to take responsibility, but in an exclusive to FOX News, said he did not want to see any more violence.
There were 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election results last week.
While the list of top Republicans calling for Trump’s impeachment is growing around the country, Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Trump supporter who has taken recent exception to some of Trump’s actions, was being accused of ducking the question on impeachment.
Members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party said Sununu has not hesitated to comment on the issue of impeachment before.
In 2019, Sununu said that Trump’s telephone discussion with the Ukraine president did not “rise to the level of an impeachment.”
“Enough of the buck-passing. Chris Sununu owes Granite Staters a simple answer about whether he agrees with the growing list of Republicans who have made clear that Trump committed impeachable offenses,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.
After the vote, Buckley said:
“President Trump incited last week’s attacks on the Capitol and continues to propagate dangerous lies aimed at undermining the bedrock of our democracy.
“While former GOP lawmakers like Senator Gordon Humphrey and Congressman Charlie Bass have called for Trump’s removal, New Hampshire Republican politicians including Chris Sununu, Kelly Ayotte, Chuck Morse, Sherman Packard, and Matt Mowers refuse to put country before party and call for Trump to be held accountable.
“Their complicity is shameful, and Granite Staters deserve better than politicians like Chris Sununu who cares more about climbing the ladder in his political career than standing up for our country and our democracy.”
Ben Vihstadt, the spokesman for the governor, noted Sununu’s statement earlier this week:
“Our priorities must be the healing of our nation and an orderly transition of power on January 20. As elected officials, our words are held to a higher standard, and it is clear that President Trump’s rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection at the United States Capitol Building. The domestic terrorists who attacked the United States Capitol must be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. President-elect Biden has said impeachment is a matter for Congress to weigh, and I agree,” Sununu said.