The South Carolina Republican Party formally censured Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) on Saturday after he broke with most of his party to vote in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump.
The organization announced it had voted on the resolution to censure Rice after the South Carolina Republican was one of ten from his party to vote in favor of impeaching Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for the then-president’s alleged role in spurring the attack on the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths.
The impeachment article passed in the House 232–197 and now awaits trial in the Senate.
“We made our disappointment clear the night of the impeachment vote. Trying to impeach a president, with a week left in his term, is never legitimate and is nothing more than a political kick on the way out the door,” South Carolina GOP chair Drew McKissick said in a statement. The House passed the impeachment article on January 13, just one week after the incident at the Capitol and just one week before Trump was set to leave office.
McKissick continued, “Congressman Rice’s vote unfortunately played right into the Democrats’ game, and the people in his district, and ultimately our State Executive Committee, wanted him to know they wholeheartedly disagree with his decision”:
— South Carolina Republican Party (@SCGOP) January 30, 2021
Rice released a statement the day of his vote explaining “under the strict definition of the law, I don’t know if the President’s speech last Wednesday morning amounted to incitement of a riot, but any reasonable person could see the potential for violence.”
The censure against Rice was first approved in Marion County, located within Rice’s Seventh Congressional District in northeastern South Carolina, before being elevated to the state level.
A South Carolina GOP spokesperson told Breitbart News the state’s resolution passed by a voice vote 43–0, with two members not voting.
Rice, a congressman in his deeply red district since 2013, anticipates he will face primary challenges in the 2022 election cycle as a result of his impeachment vote. During a virtual town hall meeting with constituents this week, according to the Post and Courier, “Rice said he voted his conscience, acknowledging the move could cost him re-election but saying he hopes voters respect that he will stand up for what he thinks is right.”
The top Republican to side with Democrats on impeachment, House Republican Conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), was also censured in her state, by the Carbon County GOP, who claimed her decision “violated the trust of her voters.”
The Wyoming Republican’s backlash has been enormous as multiple House colleagues have publicly called for her to resign from her leadership role in the chamber, while more than half the conference reportedly supports holding a secret ballot vote to remove her from same. A state representative has also already filed to challenge her in the 2022 primary.
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