In a memorable display of bipartisanship, and frankly courage, 10 U.S. House Republicans parted with their caucus’ vast majority and voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump.
Significantly, two of them were from Washington state: Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside. They will face criticism in their more conservative districts. Nevertheless, they chose to “choose truth” and “rise to the occasion.” Those are their words, respectively.
They joined Washington’s seven Democrats in the vote that charged the president with incitement of insurrection. The House voted 232-197 (the latter all Republicans) under the protection of the National Guard, stationed throughout the Capitol.
That leaves Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, as the outlier in our state.
The sober task ahead is necessary, though it will not remove Trump from power before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20. The Senate, soon to be in control of the Democrats, will likely take up the matter later.
Wednesday’s vote was nothing to celebrate as it was provoked by a stunning, deadly attack on the Capitol with the intention of disrupting Congress’ duty to certify the election. The impeachment’s focus is Trump’s incitement of the crowd, which beat police officers, one to death, chanted “Hang Mike Pence” and tried to hunt down congressional leaders.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when she signed the impeachment document, she did so sadly and with a “broken heart.”
Newhouse shared that burden as he announced his vote with a “heavy heart.”
“This is a pivotal and solemn moment in our country’s history. I wholeheartedly believe our nation — and the system of government it was founded upon — may well be in jeopardy if we do not rise to this occasion. This is not a decision I take lightly,” his statement read.
Significantly, Newhouse, Washington’s former agriculture director, acknowledged he and too many Republicans did not speak up sooner about the president’s words and actions.
Because the president acted against his oath of office, Herrera Beutler said, she had decided she would vote to impeach him a day before the vote. She rejected the argument of some of her GOP colleagues that impeachment would only further inflame the country.
” … I am also a Republican voter. I believe in our Constitution, individual liberty, free markets, charity, life, justice, peace and this exceptional country,” her statement read. “I see that my own party will be best served when those among us choose truth.”
Choosing truth. Rising to the occasion. That is leadership.
Correction: This post, originally published Jan. 13, 2021, was updated Jan. 14, 2021, to correctly attribute partial quotes in the second paragraph.