Republican lawmakers were divided on Wednesday over whether to kick Donald Trump from the White House and prevent him from running for office in the future, as at least five GOP House members announced they would vote to impeach President.
Jim Jordan, a congressman from Ohio and staunch supporter of the president, called on Liz Cheney – the most prominent Republican to break ranks and support impeachment – to be fired from her leadership position.
Mr Jordan said Ms Cheney, the oldest Republican woman on Capitol Hill and the third member of the GOP House, was ‘totally wrong’ in voting to impeach the president and should step down as Speaker of the House Conference republican.
Mr. Jordan added that the Republican caucus is expected to have a “second vote” on his nomination, just days after voting unanimously to install him as Speaker of the Republican House conference.
His comments underscored the sharp divisions within the Republican Party as GOP lawmakers question how to handle the ignominious end of Mr. Trump’s presidency. The party is trying to maintain unity while avoiding the anger of the outgoing president and his staunch support base ahead of the midterm elections in 2022.
Ms Cheney sent shockwaves through Washington on Tuesday night when she announced she would vote to impeach Mr Trump for inciting an insurgency that has left at least five dead, including a Capitol Hill policeman.
“The President of the United States called this crowd, gathered the crowd and lit the flame of this attack,” Ms. Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said in a statement. “All that followed was his work.
His comments came just hours after The New York Times reported that Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, was happy that House Democrats were impeaching Mr. Trump for the second time, within days barely before he left the White House and Joe Biden. is sworn in as the 46th US President.
The New York Times reported that Mr. McConnell supported the impeachment process in part because he believed it would make it easier for the GOP to purge Mr. Trump from the Republican Party. But it remains unclear whether Mr McConnell will personally vote to convict the president in a Senate trial or encourage his colleagues to do so.
Ms Cheney is one of five Republicans to have said they will vote to impeach Mr Trump when the Democrat-controlled House votes later Wednesday.
While their votes are significant – no Republican voted to impeach Mr. Trump when he was accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress last year – they nonetheless represent a small part of the Republican caucus of the Chamber, which has 211 members.
A Politico / Morning Consult poll released Wednesday showed Mr. Trump’s approval rating plunged to an all-time low, with 34% of voters approving the work he was doing. However, the president remained the first choice of Republican voters to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024, according to the survey.
Forty-two percent of Republican voters said they would vote for Mr. Trump in the next GOP primary, compared to 54 percent when asked the same question in November.
Wednesday’s impeachment vote could be followed by a speedy trial in the Senate. The timing of a trial depends on when Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, sends the impeachment article to the Senate, and whether Mr. McConnell launches a speedy trial.
Mr. Trump will only be removed from office if he is convicted by two-thirds of the Senate, which is currently in Republican hands, but will soon return to the Democrats after last week’s Senate run-off in Georgia. The Senate will then be split, 50-50, with Kamala Harris, the new vice president, able to vote for a tiebreaker.