GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, a freshman Republican from Grand Rapids, says he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump over Trump’s comments ahead of a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol last week and because of the president’s behavior afterward.
In a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Meijer said he did not reach his decision lightly but that he ultimately believed “Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week.”
“With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump,” the statement concludes.
He says Trump “betrayed and misled millions with claims of a ‘stolen election’ and encouraged loyalists that ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country any more.'” He goes on to say that Trump could have restored order but “shrank from leadership when our country needed it most.”
“This vote is not a victory,” his statement reads. “It isn’t a victory for my party, and it isn’t the victory the Democrats might think it is. I’m not sure it is a victory for our country. But it is a call to action for us to reflect on these events and seek a way to correct them.”
The U.S. House of Representatives was voting Wednesday afternoon on articles of impeachment, alleging Trump incited insurrection. If the measure passes, Trump will become the only president to be impeached twice.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, also said he will vote to impeach. U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, said he will not.
As the vote got underway Wednesday afternoon, Upton tweeted the text of the oath of office he and other members of Congress take, which calls on them to “support and defend the Constitution … against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is the same oath the president takes when he is sworn in.
Meijer had been a member of the House for less than a week when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while Congress was attempting to certify the Electoral College vote in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat. Meijer and his colleagues in the House and Senate were forced to flee the chamber floors to secured areas until law enforcement cleared the building and proceedings resumed.
In the wake of the riot, Meijer has been an outspoken critic of Trump, saying he has failed to demonstrate leadership.
“It weighs on me heavily that Gerald Ford held this (House) seat for 25 years before he was elevated to the Presidency,” Meijer said in his Wednesday statement. “President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon was a necessary step to move the nation past the wounds of Watergate, but it followed Nixon’s resignation and acceptance of responsibility. Since last week, the President has accepted no responsibility for the violence his rhetoric and actions inspired.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will not bring the U.S. Senate back early to hold an impeachment trial, which means there’s no chance of it happening before Trump’s term is up Jan. 20.
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