WASHINGTON – Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, says she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, adding to a growing list of Republicans backing the president’s removal after blaming him for inciting a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Cheney said the president was solely to blame for the attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney said in a forceful statement, declaring: “I will vote to impeach the President.”
Cheney, R-Wyo., is the highest-ranking Republican to back Trump’s removal from office. She noted that the attack, which resulted in five deaths including a Capitol Police officer, aimed to obstruct America’s democratic processes and caused “injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.”
For that, Cheney said the president — and the president alone — was to blame.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing,” she said in a statement. “None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not.”
Two other Republicans have said they will also vote to impeach Trump: Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
The small group of House Republicans are thought to be part of a broader coalition debating whether to back the effort, a stark contrast to Trump’s first impeachment battle in 2019, when not a single Republican backed impeaching him. At the time, several Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the effort.
Katko, a former federal prosecutor and moderate Republican who endorsed Trump for reelection, said he reviewed the facts and reached his own conclusion.
“To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President.”
Kinzinger, a former Air Force veteran who served multiple tours overseas and in the Middle East, said there was “no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”
“I will vote in favor of impeachment,” he wrote in a statement.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., a moderate, joined the group of Republicans who would vote for impeachment Wednesday. Upton said in a statement he would have preferred censuring the president, but he had decided “it is time to say: enough is enough.”
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., announced late Tuesday she would vote to impeach, saying her party “will be best served when those among us choose truth.” She slammed Trump’s “pathetic denouncement” of the violence during the riots.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats applauded Republicans for backing the effort.
“Good for her for honoring her oath of office,” Pelosi said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., similarly applauded Cheney, calling her a “person of principle.”
“She knows the president incited this violent activity by many, and I would hope there are a number of Republicans who vote for this,” Hoyer said.
Throughout Trump’s presidency, Cheney has remained a loyal Republican vote but has repeatedly come out against the president over his rhetoric and some foreign policy decisions.
In recent months, Cheney’s criticisms of the president have grown stronger. She’s taken veiled jabs at Trump over his refusal to wear a mask, publicly asked Trump to stop using his Twitter account to accuse an MSNBC media host of murder and pushed Trump for answers after media reports surfaced showing Russians had offered bounties to the Taliban for killed U.S. troops.
And before backing Trump’s removal, Cheney vehemently opposed pro-Trump efforts by some of her Republican colleagues to object to counting Electoral College results in certain swing states, saying on Twitter that “Congress has no authority to overturn elections by objecting to electors. Doing so steals power from the states & violates the Constitution.”