The South Carolina Republican Party voted to censure Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC), who has represented the 7th district since 2013, for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection during his final days in the oval office.
Rice was one of ten House Republicans who joined with Democrats to impeach Trump over the January 6 riot at the Capitol building. While Trump was in office, Rice voted in-line with the president’s agenda approximately 94% of the time, with the exception of during the 117th Congress — which began January 2021 — according to FiveThirtyEight.
“We made our disappointment clear the night of the impeachment vote. Trying to impeach a president, with a week left in his term, is never legitimate and is nothing more than a political kick on the way out the door,” said Chairman Drew McKissick.
“Congressman Rice’s vote unfortunately played right into the Democrats’ game, and the people in his district, and ultimately our State Executive Committee, wanted him to know they wholeheartedly disagree with his decision,” he added.
— South Carolina Republican Party (@SCGOP) January 30, 2021
Rice released the following statement after the impeachment vote:
Under the strict definition of the law, I don’t know if the President’s speech last Wednesday morning amounted to incitement of a riot, but any reasonable person could see the potential for violence.
Once the violence began, when the Capitol was under siege, when the Capitol Police were being beaten and killed, and when the Vice President and the Congress were being locked down, the President was watching and tweeted about the Vice President’s lack of courage.
For hours while the riot continued, the President communicated only on Twitter and offered only weak requests for restraint.
I was on the floor of the House of Representatives when the rioters were beating on the door with tear gas, zip tie restraints, and pipe bombs in their possession. It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol Police that the death toll was not much, much higher.
It has been a week since so many were injured, the United States Capitol was ransacked, and six people were killed, including two police officers. Yet, the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences. Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were ‘perfectly appropriate.’
I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.
According to The Associated Press, the South Carolina GOP last voted to censure a politician over a decade ago, after then-Governor Mark Sanford (R) disappeared for nearly a week without telling his family to visit his secret mistress in Argentina.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), who also voted for impeachment, is now facing at least one primary challenger for the 2022 election.