Well, the U.S. House of Representatives has now voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, and—spoiler alert—Houston-area representatives voted exactly the way you'd have bet they would.
After it became clear that Vice President Mike Pence would not opt to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next week, on Wednesday the House voted to impeach the president on the charge of incitement of insurrection. Trump is now the only U.S. president in history to be impeached twice.
The historic vote came after hours of debate on the floor of the House chamber, the same space that was nearly overrun with a mob of Trump supporters this time last week.
Houston's U.S. Rep. Al Green—who has been pushing for impeachment for years at this point, a move that was commended by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for his efforts over the years to hold Trump accountable—noted during the debate time that he wasn't happy that there was another reason to impeach the president. “This is a very sad time in the history of our country,” Green said. “No one is celebrating. No one wants to see this occur.”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee didn't try to soften her take, pointing out that the speech Trump made before Trump-supporting extremists stormed the Capitol Building in an attempt to stop Biden's election victory from being certified makes the president responsible for the incident that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer, and embarrassed the nation on the world stage. “The president of the United States is an insurrectionist,” Lee said bluntly. “He led an insurrection against the United States of America.”
When U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher stepped up, she decried what she described as the "gas lighting that is masquerading as debate in this chamber today" and stated that if Trump's behavior last week, assembling and encouraging a mob to attack the Capitol Building and the members of Congress, "is not an impeachable offense, I don't know what is."
I returned to the House Gallery today, one week to the day since a terrorist mob attacked our Capitol and our Congress.— Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (@RepFletcher) January 13, 2021
And I returned to the floor to respond to the specious arguments raised during the debate about where we are in this moment, and what we must do now. pic.twitter.com/zR7suymdCW
As expected the House voted 232 to 197 to impeach the president, with 10 Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with the Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of House GOP leadership, who has been vocal about her disapproval of Trump's actions last week, and called this a "vote of conscience" for the GOP House members. (By comparison, not a single GOP member voted in favor of impeaching Trump when charges were brought in 2019.)
However, in Texas the vote split down the usual party lines: Not a single member of the Texas GOP delegation voted in favor of impeachment, while all four Houston-area Dems, including Green, Lee, Fletcher, and U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, voted in favor of impeachment.
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw did take to Twitter in the lead-up to the vote to decry Trump's behavior, but he then asked that everyone "tone down the rhetoric" and voted against the measure.
We can’t ignore the President’s behavior leading up to the violence in the Capitol last week. He bears enormous responsibility for it. But impeachment is not the answer. We all need to deescalate, lower the temperature, and move forward together as a country.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 13, 2021
My statement: pic.twitter.com/0j01vhAnr8
He was joined by U.S. reps. Brian Babin, Kevin Brady, Troy Nehls (the Fort Bend congressman who was shown in a photo helping to keep the mob from breeching the House chamber armed with a stick of furniture), Michael McCaul, and Randy Weber.
McCaul also condemned the president's actions on Twitter, saying that he voted "with a heavy heart" against impeachment. “I truly fear there may be more facts that come to light in the future that will put me on the wrong side of this debate," McCaul concluded.
My full statement on impeachment: pic.twitter.com/dORsBNQxU3— Michael McCaul (@RepMcCaul) January 13, 2021
And, tellingly, while Crenshaw did vote with the bulk of Republican House members, he also spoke up in support of Cheney, praising her for leadership and backbone. That recognition, coming from Crenshaw right now, is an intriguing development in the aftermath of a historic day in the House.
Cheney gets a vocal internal backer https://t.co/my5fsc7jvj— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) January 13, 2021