Political Bullsh!t

Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump. Some then fell silent while others spoke up

One of them, former rising GOP star Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, called Jan. 6 a “line-in-the-sand moment.”

“I don’t believe he can ever be president again,” Gonzalez said in a September interview announcing he would not seek reelection. “Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal.”

Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, some have decided not to run for reelection, others have grown outspokenly defiant, and still others are laying low in hopes the storm will blow over by the time November rolls around. But it’s fair to say everyone in the small clique has trod an unusually thorny path over the past year.

So far, Trump has endorsed primary opponents for at least five of them, including Gonzalez (who’s retiring), Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Peter Meijer and Fred Upton of Michigan, who serve neighboring districts on the west side of the state.

Though Michigan’s redistricting has left Upton’s GOP challengers in flux, the 35-year House veteran doesn’t appear to be relishing the current environment on the Hill.

“You’ve got metal detectors now going on the House floor. We get really nasty threats at home. The tone gets, you know, tougher and tougher, and it’s a pretty toxic place,” he told CNN last month. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Meijer, a freshman congressman, thinks that if anyone miscalculated, it’s the GOP members who believed the party was moving beyond Trump when they took the easy way out and gave him a pass.

“The view among some was that this would be essentially a self-correcting issue,” Meijer said of Trump. “I think that’s proven overly optimistic.”

Four of them, according to the Times, have fallen unmistakably silent, including Reps. John Katko of New York, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Tom Rice of South Carolina, and David Valadao of California.

And it’s surely no secret at this point that two of them have doubled down, serving on the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 while making it their mission to reclaim the party from Trump.

“The 2020 election was not stolen,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said in a video message Wednesday marking the anniversary of Jan. 6. “Joe Biden won, and Donald Trump lost. We have to admit it. But the leadership of the Republican Party won’t. They lied to the American people and continue to push the big lie and echo the conspiracy theories that line their pockets, keeping them in power.”

Kinzinger, who was redistricted out of a seat, included a link to country1st.com, a new PAC with the stated mission to “Defeat Toxic Tribalism.”

And finally there’s Cheney, who has been the least squeamish of all of them about laying the current threat plaguing the country at the feet of Republicans alone.

“Our party has to choose,” Cheney told the Times. “We can either be loyal to Donald Trump, or we can be loyal to the Constitution, but we cannot be both. And right now, there are far too many Republicans who are trying to enable the former president, embrace the former president, look the other way and hope that the former president goes away.”

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