All Four Utah Representatives Vote Against Impeaching The President
One week after an insurrection at the United States Capitol, all four of Utah’s House members voted against impeaching President Donald Trump for his role in the events.
Over the course of several hours Wednesday, Congress debated whether to impeach the president for “incitement of insurrection,” which it ultimately did by a vote of 232 to 197. The vote made Trump the first president to be impeached twice. The House first impeached Trump in 2019 over allegations that he colluded with Ukraine to help his campaign during the 2016 election, but the Senate did not convict him.
In floor speeches Wednesday, Democrats emphasized a need to hold Trump accountable for his actions and to set a precedent for future presidents, while Republicans emphasized the rushed nature of the vote, citing a lack of evidence that Trump’s words caused the violence.
Now, the president will have the opportunity to defend himself in a Senate trial likely after he leaves office.
Here’s what Utah’s representatives said about their votes:
Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, told NPR’s Here & Now on Wednesday morning that he “agonized” over the decision of whether to vote for the impeachment, and he ultimately decided to vote ‘no’ because he felt Democrats rushed the vote.
He said there is a lack of evidence that Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 directly caused the violence at the Capitol later that day. But he stopped short of defending Trump, saying “The President does have some accountability here.”
Curtis joined other Republicans the day before the impeachment vote in introducing a resolution to censure Trump for attempting to overturn the election and for violating his oath of office on Jan. 6. Unlike impeachment, censure is essentially a reprimand and allows a president to stay in office.
Censuring the President and making it clear that Congress does not support any level of his involvement in the riots nor any attempts to undermine an election is a critical step in holding him accountable as more facts continue to unfold. (1/2) #utpol— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) January 13, 2021
In a floor speech, Rep. Blake Moore, R-UT, who was sworn in on Jan. 4, said he’s already learned to make hard and “seemingly unpopular" decisions in Congress.
He cited concerns that a “rushed” impeachment process would set a “dangerous precedent” and compared it to the process of stripping states of their Electoral College votes. He and Curtis both voted against stripping Arizona and Pennsylvania of their votes last week.
Finally, Moore promised to be “objective” in his decision making, raised concerns about divisiveness in the country and committed to “do better.”
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, voted against impeaching the president. He has not issued any statements related to his decision.
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-UT, who is also new to the House, tweeted before the floor debate that impeachment would “only deepen the divide our country is facing.”
We have a transfer of power occurring next week, and any debate on impeachment will only deepen the divide our country is facing. My statement: pic.twitter.com/L6uCz06035— Rep. Burgess Owens (@RepBurgessOwens) January 13, 2021
Both Owens and Stewart voted against certifying Pennsylvania’s election results last week, following the violent events by pro-Trump extremists at the Capitol.
Curtis and Stewart also voted not to impeach Trump during the first proceeding. Owens and Moore were not in office at the time.