- The South Carolina GOP censured a Republican lawmaker over his vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
- Rep. Tom Rice voted to impeach after calling Trump’s response to the Capitol siege an “utter failure.”
- Rice said he knew his vote might mean he’ll lose his next election.
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“We made our disappointment clear the night of the impeachment vote,” the party chairman, Drew McKissick, said in a statement announcing the censure. “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.”
Rice had been a longtime Trump supporter but ultimately backed the impeachment efforts due to Trump’s inaction during the Capitol siege, in which hundreds of his supporters stormed the building while lawmakers counted the electoral college votes.
“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,” Rice said in a statement on January 13.
He continued: “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.”
—South Carolina Republican Party (@SCGOP) January 30, 2021
Rice told the Associated Press he understood his impeachment vote might result in him losing his seat in the next election.
“If it does, it does,” he said.
Rice isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to face blowback for voting to impeach Trump. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, is also facing a potential censure, a primary challenge, and a wave of resentment from her Trump-supporting constituents.
Rice is also not the only Republican to be censured over his views on Trump. The Arizona GOP voted last weekend to formally censure Cindy McCain and former Sen. Jeff Flake over their criticism of Trump and the Republican Party.