The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump in a Wednesday afternoon vote, but local Congressman Hal Rogers did not follow the majority, instead choosing to vote against the motion.
“What we need in America today is hope for a united and peaceful nation, gaining strength at every corner, not another vote to divide our country from within,” Congressman Rogers said in a statement after the vote. “President Donald Trump is not our enemy, and President-elect Joe Biden is not our enemy. Over the last four decades, I have served alongside six U.S. Presidents, including four Republicans and two Democrats – Biden will be the third. Through different administrations, I have always reached across the aisle and worked to find common ground for the good of the American people, and we need to get back to the people’s business. However, today’s impeachment vote is not the way to bring Americans together.
“House Democrats have been working to remove President Trump since he took the oath of office four years ago, and this second attempt in his final days of office only deepens the anguish and the growing political divide in our nation. The violent rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, leading to the loss of innocent lives and damage across this great institution, will rightly be held responsible for their actions to the fullest extent of the law – and that should be our focus.”
Trump was impeached on the grounds of incitement of insurrection.
The House voted 232-197 in favor of impeachment, with 10 Republicans joining with Democrats to approve it.
As noted by the Associated Press, Trump is the only president to be impeached twice.
The move came on the heels of last week’s historic riot in which thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and interrupted proceedings where U.S. lawmakers were preparing to accept the Electoral College’s conclusion that Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s supporters claim that widespread election fraud from several states caused an unfair result, and were urged on by Trump’s calls for them to “fight like hell” to reject the election results.
The next step of the process is for the Senate to begin an impeachment trial. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said the soonest that would start would be the first regular meeting following the receipt of the House’s information.
McConnell has reportedly stated to others that he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses, but has also stated that he has “not made a final decision on how I will vote.”
On Wednesday, McConnell issued a statement saying that the there was no possibility the impeachment process could be completed before President Trump was out of office.
“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the quickest path for any change in the occupant of the presidency.
“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” McConnell said.
Five people died during the Capitol riot. A Capitol Police officer died from his injuries, and a Trump supporter was shot and killed by police on the day. Three others died in what authorities described as “medical emergencies.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article