Donald Trump is now the only president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. That makes him responsible for half of the presidential impeachments in U.S. history. Just 10 Republicans joined all the House Democrats voting for impeachment on Wednesday, but that’s the largest number of representatives ever to vote to impeach their own party’s president.
In fact, it was worse than that for Trump. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he wanted to censure the president. Three other Republicans released a statement condemning his “words and actions.” Few Republicans who spoke in the House debate joined in condemning Trump’s actions, but few defended him, either. Not many of them spoke at all, and the ones who did spent more time talking about Black Lives Matters protests than about Trump.
Why? To hear most of the Republicans tell it, Trump was just an innocent passive observer to all of the scandals of his administration, including the false charges of election fraud that roiled the country and climaxed in an invasion of the U.S. Capitol by his followers on Jan. 6. Democrats, they claimed, simply had blind hatred of the president. Indeed, their most frequent argument against impeachment — as it was in 2019 when the House took its first vote to impeach Trump — seemed to be that it was illegitimate because Democrats wanted it too much.