The token reprimand comes amid growing Republican opposition to the former president’s Senate trial, which is expected to begin next month.
A Republican lawmaker in the US state of South Carolina was censored by the state branch of the party after he voted in favor of the impeachment of former US President Donald Trump earlier this month.
Congressman Tom Rice was one of 10 Republicans in the United States House of Representatives to vote in favor of impeach Trump Jan. 13 for “inciting insurgency” over the deadly riot on the US Capitol this month.
The South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) on Saturday said it had officially censored Rice for her vote.
“We clearly expressed our disappointment on the night of the impeachment vote,” SCGOP chairman Drew McKissick said in a statement shared on social media of the token reprimand.
“Trying to impeach a president, with a week left in his term, is never legitimate and is nothing more than a political kick out of the door.”
– Republican Party of South Carolina (@SCGOP) January 30, 2021
Rice was a staunch supporter of Trump during the former president’s tenure in the White House, but said on Jan. 13 he voted for impeachment because the Capitol riot was “inexcusable.”
“I supported this president from start to finish for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But this total failure is inexcusable, ”Rice said in an declaration at this moment.
Trump’s impeachment for the Capitol uprising – his second as president – has divided the Republican Party.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney said he thinks it is “appropriate” to move forward with an impeachment trial in the US Senate, while other Republicans questioned the constitutionality of the pending proceedings when Trump is no longer in office.
Party members also argued that impeachment would harm an already deeply divided country and urged Democrats to drop their initiative.
But despite this opposition, the Democratic-controlled House sent the article of impeachment to the Senate last week and Trump’s Senate trial is set to begin in February.
To be convicted, the Senate needs a two-thirds majority of support. That means more than a dozen Republicans will have to join Democrats in voting for impeachment.
Rice is not the only Republican to have voted for impeachment to face backlash.
Liz Cheney, currently Republican number three in the House of Representatives, has been censored by the Republican Party in at least three of 23 counties in her home state of Wyoming.
She is also facing increasing calls to be removed from her role as party conference chair.
House Representative Fred Upton was also censored by the Republican Party in Allegan County, one of six counties in Michigan’s Upton District, for voting to impeach Trump.