Iowa’s congressional delegation voted along party lines Wednesday as the U.S. House of Representatives considered an unprecedented, last-minute impeachment of President Donald Trump just days before his term is set to expire.
U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, Iowa’s lone Democrat in Congress, was the state’s only representative to vote for impeachment. The state’s three Republicans voted against it. The measure, which cited the president’s incitement of a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week, passed 232-197. The final vote included support from 10 Republicans.
The passage marks the first time in history an American president has been impeached twice. Barred from Twitter, the president on Wednesday issued a statement urging his supporters to remain peaceful.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” he said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”
On the day of the riots, Trump did little to quell the mobs and instead falsely claimed the election had been stolen from him.
“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he told his supporters before they overtook the U.S. Capitol. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Axne said in a statement the president’s “crime is too great for us to ignore,” even this late in his term. Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office Jan. 20.
“The President’s actions — the deliberate repetition of falsehoods and calls to ignore a democratic election — must have consequences,” Axne said in the statement. “Incitement of an insurrection is a high crime against the United States, and the Constitutional consequence for such an act is impeachment.”
Axne also voted to impeach Trump in 2019 over his request to Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals.
First District Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson said in a statement that “last week was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history” and “the President bears responsibility,” but she does not support impeachment.
“Speaker Pelosi is bypassing regular order — including the process of collecting evidence, conducting committee hearings and having preliminary votes — to rush toward a second impeachment of President Trump,” she said. “Just a week out from a new administration, impeachment will only serve to feed the flames and further divide our nation.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who represents Iowa’s 2nd District, said in a statement that impeachment would divide the country and detract from Congress’s ability to focus on issues like health care, jobs and the pandemic.
“As horrific as the events of January 6 were, President Trump has conceded and committed to an orderly transition of power on January 20,” she said. “Impeaching him with 7 days remaining in his term would only further divide the nation and make it more difficult for President-Elect Joe Biden to unify and lead our nation.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, who was elected in November to represent Iowa’s 4th District, said in a statement that Trump has only seven days left in his term and “has committed to a peaceful transition of power.” he said pursuing impeachment would be “divisive and rushed.”
“It has been a challenging year, but we must not forget that we are one Nation, under God — and I’m confident that together, we can work towards a brighter future,” he said. “I was elected by the great people of Iowa’s 4th District to deliver results, and with their input and feedback, that’s exactly what I plan to do as we move forward and focus on conducting the business of our country.”
Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.