Members of the Clark County Republican Party voted Tuesday to formally censure Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
In a rowdy gathering at a church Tuesday, the group pledged to withhold funds from Herrera Beutler’s future campaigns unless she appears in person at the next CCRP Central Committee meeting in May to “explain her action to this body.”
The resolution passed by a wide margin, to whoops and applause.
“In the interest of fairness, do we have any nays?” CCPR Chair Joel Mattila asked, drawing laughter from the crowd, according to a video of the event posted on social media.
The resolution was introduced by a precinct committee officer and active member of the local Republican party, Carolyn Crain. In an emotional statement, Crain said she was the first volunteer to work for Herrera Beutler during the congresswoman’s first campaign in 2010.
“She violated my trust and it broke my heart. And I will not be dragged off this street without a congressperson who will make sure that this deplorable, nondomestic terrorist has somebody in her corner,” Crain said, earning another round of applause from the crowd. “We will be giving her more opportunity to address her accusers than she gave our president!”
The formal censure criticized the impeachment process as lacking proper procedure – according to the CCRP’s document, Trump’s second impeachment “eliminated investigation and public hearings, provided no evidence to consider, called no witnesses to be sworn, and allowed none of the accusers to be questioned by the accused.”
Herrera Beutler had offered to testify during the Senate’s trial, though the body didn’t take her up on it.
She voted to impeach Trump because he “incited a riot intended to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That riot led to five deaths,” Herrera Beutler wrote in a Jan. 12 statement.
“The president’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have,” she wrote.
In voting for the resolution, local committee members also pledged to work with the other countywide parties in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District to vet and select one other conservative Republican candidate to champion in the 2022 primaries.
Two of those other potential candidates opened Tuesday’s meeting with speeches. Military veteran Joe Kent and Christian advocate Heidi St. John were each invited to address the group, and took the opportunity to paint themselves as potential uniters of the party in Southwest Washington.
“I think we can agree that socialism is something we never want to see implemented in this nation. Can we agree? I think we agree the Second Amendment is worth defending. Can we agree?” St. John asked the crowd, which responded with a chorus of applause and shouts of approval.
“Can we agree that life is precious? Can we agree? So guess what we learned tonight, guys: We agree,” St. John said.
Though a video recording of the event showed a limited frame of the full room, a pan of the camera at one point showed approximately a hundred people gathered. Virtually all of the attendees filmed were not wearing face masks.
Joey Gibson, founder of the right-wing activist group Patriot Prayer and a precinct committee officer in the CCRP, can be seen in the video among the meeting’s attendees. Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a prominent local member of the Proud Boys, served as the meeting’s sergeant at arms.