SEATTLE — Two of the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump on Wednesday over the riot of his loyalists at the U.S. Capitol were from Washington state.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, and Rep. Dan Newhouse, who represents central Washington’s 4th District, said Trump violated his oath of office by inflaming the insurrectionists and failing to defend the government from them.
Herrera Beutler issued a statement Tuesday night saying Trump incited the riot last week and calling his response to it “pathetic.” She spoke in favor of impeachment during debate on the House floor Wednesday, saying, “I am not choosing a side. I am choosing truth.”
“The president of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next,” Herrera Beutler wrote in the statement. “Hours went by before the president did anything meaningful to stop the attack."
Newhouse was among 126 members of Congress who last month signed a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of an unsuccessful effort by the state of Texas to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election.
But he, too, came out in support of impeachment, saying in a statement that “turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our republic is not an option," and that when domestic enemies were at the door of the Capitol, Trump failed to respond.
“This is a sad day in our Republic, but not as sad or disheartening as the violence we witnessed in the Capitol last Wednesday,” Newhouse said. “We are all responsible. My colleagues are responsible for not condemning rioters this past year, like those who barricaded the doors of the Seattle Police Department and attempted to murder the officers inside. Others, including myself are responsible for not speaking out sooner, before the president misinformed and inflamed a violent mob that tore down the American flag and brutally beat Capitol police officers. Madam Speaker, we must all be better. These articles of impeachment are flawed, but I will not use process as an excuse; there is no excuse to President Trump’s actions. The president took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Last week, there was domestic threat at the door of the Capitol, and he did nothing to stop it.”
Among the state's Republican U.S. representatives, only Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents the 5th District in eastern Washington, opposed the impeachment, which she described as rushed. She said she did not believe Trump's speech before the assault on the Capitol rose to the level of incitement, but she nevertheless condemned the president's actions.
Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers owned some of the blame for the tone of politics that helped inflame the riots. They said that while Democrats had failed to adequately condemn violent protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last year, they themselves should have spoken out sooner against Trump's lies.
“People on the right have excused and defended President Trump, including me, because he stood for free markets and economic growth, led the most pro-life administration in history, defended religious freedom, stood for Israel, and supported the rule of law,” McMorris Rodgers said in a written statement. “For Trump supporters like me, it meant turning a blind eye to arrogant, prideful, and bullying behavior. We all need to take some responsibility, tone down the rhetoric, stop silencing anyone and everyone who might disagree with us, and do better.”
All three Republicans from Washington state were reelected comfortably in November and voted against Trump's first impeachment last year. Herrera Beutler has said she didn't vote for Trump in 2016 but supported him in November.
All seven Democratic representatives from Washington supported impeachment.