- Rep. Tom Rice defended his vote to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol insurrection.
- Rice called Trump a “bully” and said his actions were “completely despicable.”
- The South Carolina lawmaker faces several Republican challengers hoping to unseat him in a primary election.
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Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina defended his vote earlier this year to impeach then-President Donald Trump over his role in inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
“I took an oath to defend the Constitution. I didn’t take an oath to defend Donald Trump,” Rice said in an interview with The Washington Post that was published on Sunday. “What he did was a frontal assault on the Constitution.”
Rice expressed no regrets over his decision, telling his constituents at an event last week that Trump is a “bully” and his actions on that day were “completely despicable.”
“I will vote that way every single time,” the Republican lawmaker said, according to The Post.
Rice also blasted Trump for tweeting an attack against then-Vice President Mike Pence while his supporters were storming the Capitol and Pence was being rushed to safety.
“For him to be calling Mike Pence a coward and him sitting at the White House surrounded by Secret Service and tweeting while Mike Pence is in the middle of all that, and he’s a coward? Give me a break,” Rice said, per The Post.
Trump at the time said Pence lacked “courage” for refusing to overturn the 2020 presidential election results over false claims that the race was “rigged” and “stolen” from him. The vice president has no authority to challenge the results, and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
“If the president, by force, can intimidate Congress into voting their way, then we might as well do away with Congress and hand it over to a king. What he did in my mind is what dictators do,” Rice said of Trump.
Rice was one of 10 House Republicans who broke from their party and supported Trump’s second impeachment – the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history. His vote shocked many GOP lawmakers, who at the time called him to make sure it wasn’t an accident, The Post reported.
Rice’s comments come as several pro-Trump Republicans have launched campaigns to unseat him in an upcoming primary election for his South Carolina district.
“If you want a congressman who’s going to choose a personality over the Constitution, I’m not your guy,” Rice told voters at the event last week, per The Post.
The Post reported that some of Rice’s constituents are frustrated over his impeachment vote against Trump and that his job is in jeopardy. But Rice is trying to win voters over by pointing to his record. Rice voted with Trump 94% of the time and helped draft the GOP’s tax cuts legislation in 2017.
“If it cost me the job, then it cost me the job,” Rice told The Post. “I hope it doesn’t.”