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“I have to go with my gut.” How Valley reps voted on Trump’s Capitol siege impeachment

One day after being sworn into office for his Capitol Hill comeback, Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) voted to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday. 

The House passed the resolution 232-197, with 10 Republicans crossing party lines to vote for impeachment. 

This latest impeachment effort comes after a siege on the United States Capitol while Congress was voting to certify the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. Trump was charged with “incitement of insurrection” in the lone article of impeachment. 

In a statement issued shortly after the vote, Valadao chastised Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–San Francisco) for the lack of impeachment hearings ahead of the floor vote on Wednesday.

However, he could not overcome a personal conviction to vote in favor of the article of impeachment.

“President Trump was, without question, a driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6 by encouraging masses of rioters to incite violence on elected officials, staff members, and our representative democracy as a whole,” Valadao said.

“Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience. I voted to impeach President Trump. His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.”

Locally, Democrats Josh Harder (D–Turlock) and Jim Costa (D–Fresno) stuck with their party in voting in favor of charging Trump.

During floor debate Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) acknowledged Trump’s role in the siege, saying he “bears responsibility” for the attempted armed takeover of the Capitol.

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

However, McCarthy, along with Reps. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare) and Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove) voted against the article of impeachment.

Unlike his GOP neighbors in the San Joaquin Valley, Valadao represents one of the most-Democratic leaning Congressional districts held by a Republican.

The other Republicans voting for impeachment include Reps. Liz Cheney (R–Wyo.), the third-highest ranking Republican in the House, Peter Meijer (R–Mich.), Tom Rice, Fred Upton (R–Mich.), Anthony Gonzalez (R–Ohio), John Katko (R–N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R–Ill.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R–Wash.), and Dan Newhouse (R–Wash.) voted to impeach Trump.

With Trump becoming the first president to be impeached twice, the Senate holds the Constitutional duty to decide whether to convict him. 

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky) said in a statement that the impeachment trial will not occur until after Biden takes office on Jan. 20. 

“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said. 

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration. 

A conviction would require a two-thirds vote by the Senate, and a simple majority vote following conviction could bar trump from running for president again. 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.