Rep. Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R- S.C.) explained his surprise vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment YouTube temporarily bars uploading of new content on Trump’s channel House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump MORE on Wednesday, calling Trump’s behavior on the day the U.S. Capitol was breached and in the week since “inexcusable.”
Rice was one of ten Republicans who joined Democrats in impeaching the President for inciting an insurrection.
Rice’s vote turned heads, given that he indicated Monday that he was against impeachment, telling local news outlet WBTW, “let’s not stoke further division.” Rice also voted to overturn both Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes when the riot was over last week.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, Rice ripped the president for his role in inciting the deadly riot that interrupted the certification of the Electoral College vote last Wednesday.
“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.
The South Carolina Republican said that any “reasonable person” could tell that that Trump’s speech last Wednesday before the breach of the U.S. Capitol had “potential for violence.” He also slammed the president for tweeting while the Capitol was under attack.
“I was on the floor of the House of Representatives when the rioters were beating on the door with tear gas, zip tie restraints, and pipe bombs in their possession,” Rice said. “It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol Police that the death toll was not much, much higher.”
Rice continued by noting that in the week since the attack, “the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences.”
“Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were ‘perfectly appropriate,’” he wrote.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump on a charge that he incited last Wednesday. Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.