After hours of debate (arguments) over the impeachment of President Trump, Democrats finally had their moment, their career-making or breaking moment when they voted to impeach the president on the two articles of impeachment.
Trump held a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan at the same time the vote was happening, laughing at the “sham” of impeachment by telling the thousands of loyal supporters, “it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached.”
As for the vote, the biggest surprise of the night came from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D), who voted “present” on both counts of impeachment.
Gabbard’s statement for voting “present” not only gutted the Democratic case for bringing forth the two articles of impeachment but echoed the “partisan process” argument Republicans have been making.
“I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D)
Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) took issue with Gabbard, almost sounding as if the congresswoman from Hawaii had betrayed her and the entire Democratic House Caucus.
“Whenever we have a vote, we should vote ‘yes’ and we should vote ‘no,’” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Voting ‘present’ is a very tough position to be in. To not take a stand in a moment that is so consequential, I think it’s quite difficult.
Shortly after the votes, a deluge of statements by members was released. Here are what some of Florida’s “finest” members said about impeachment.
Rep. Ted Yoho (R)- “I agree that no one is above the law. However, under the articles of impeachment that were laid before us tonight, I feel there was no evidence to impeach President Trump. Today is a day that will live in infamy as a stain on our Republic. Speaker Pelosi along with rank and file Democrats divided our nation over partisan hatred of a duly elected President. Today is a regrettable day. Now, the Senate will decide. May God guide our Republic.”
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) – “The United States Constitution grants Congress the power to impeach a president for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Before tonight, only two presidents had been impeached by Congress; President Andrew Johnson, for violating the Tenure of Office Act, in 1868, and William J. Clinton, for committing Perjury, in 1998. Both were impeached for clear violations of law. As history illustrates, impeachment is a remarkably divisive tool that should only be utilized in the most extreme cases, and after careful consideration and debate. There should not be any doubt about the ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ that form the basis of an impeachment. As the facts demonstrate in this case, there were no violations of law, and therefore, this impeachment has no merit.”
Rep. Brian Mast (R)- “From the start, this has not been about justice. It has been a pursuit of injustice, rooted in hatred of the President and disdain for the voters who elected him. From the very first minute that President Trump was sworn into office, Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress were so determined to override the results of the election that they would have impeached President Trump for leaving the toilet seat up. This is a disgraceful day for our country, and I couldn’t be more opposed to this shameful attempt to circumvent the will of the American people.”
Rep. Lois Frankel (D) – “The President of the United States abused his power by withholding critical foreign assistance for his own personal political benefit and then stopping witnesses from talking to Congress during a lawful investigation. His actions threatened our national security and undermined our elections. In a republic, no person is above the law. One day I will tell my grandson that I stood up for our democracy.”
Rep. Darren Soto (D) – ”With a duty to our country, our constitution and my oath of office, I voted in favor of the articles of impeachment today. The decision to impeach President Trump is a serious one. Up until this moment, I have spent countless hours assessing evidence, going through witness testimony and reading through both Democrat and Republican reports. After careful consideration, it became categorically clear that President Trump abused his power and obstructed justice through actions I deem as impeachable conduct.”
Speaker Pelosi is not threatening to not send over the articles to the Senate, a move that could ultimately defeat impeachment without having to come up for an up or down vote in that chamber.