U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler announced late Tuesday that she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump when the matter comes before the House on Wednesday.
Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, released a statement on Twitter at 8:29 p.m. announcing her decision and reasoning why she believes Trump acted against his oath of office.
What follows is the text of her statement.
“The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That riot led to five deaths. People everywhere watched in disbelief as the center of American democracy was assaulted. The violent mob bludgeoned to death a Capitol police officer as they defaced symbols of our freedom. These terrorists roamed the Capitol, hunting the Vice President and Speaker of the House.
“Hours went by before the President did anything meaningful to stop the attack. Instead, he and his lawyer were busy making calls to senators who were still in lockdown, seeking their support to further delay the Electoral College certification. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy describes pleading with the President to go on television and call for an end to the mayhem, to no avail. The President attacked Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter while Pence was in a secure room having fled from the mob that had breached the Senate floor threatening to hang him. Finally, the President released a pathetic denouncement of the violence that also served as a wink and a nod to those who perpetuated it: ‘I love you,’ he said to them, ‘you are special.’ More hours of destruction and violence ensued before law enforcement officials were finally able to clear the Capitol.
“The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have. I understand the argument that the best course is not to further inflame the country or alienate Republican voters. But I am a Republican voter. I believe in our Constitution, individual liberty, free markets, charity, life, justice, peace and this exceptional country. I see my own party will be best served when those among us choose truth.
“I believe President Trump acted against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him.”
Herrera Beutler’s statement came after her office declined to offer details about her position on impeachment or a formal House action Tuesday evening calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and strip President Donald Trump of his powers.
Additionally, the congresswoman’s spokesperson did not answer an inquiry asking whether she had been tested for COVID-19. Multiple members of the House announced Tuesday that they had contracted the virus following last week’s siege on the Capitol building and subsequent lockdown.
“I don’t have information to share at this time,” Herrera Beutler’s spokesperson, Craig Wheeler, said in an email late Tuesday afternoon.
Last week, Herrera Beutler said she hadn’t yet decided on how she would vote on an article of impeachment, should the House seek to draw one up. The day after a right-wing mob stormed the Capitol, she told The Columbian she was still “working to ascertain the facts.”
“Impeachment is a grave and consequential action. But so was the attack on the U.S. Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said on Jan. 8.
Since then, the congresswoman has not made any statements to the press. She’s also remained silent on her social media channels.
The New York Times, however, had named Herrera Beutler as one of several “stalwart moderates” from swing districts considering voting in favor of impeachment in a story published Tuesday afternoon.
According to a report from The Hill, a Washington, D.C. news website, multiple sources report that Herrera Beutler sparred with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) while on a call with House Republican leadership on Monday. In a “heated exchange,” The Hill reports, Herrera Beutler raised “concerns that Boebert risked lawmakers’ safety by tweeting their location during the lockdown.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, decided on Tuesday not to formally lobby House Republicans to vote against impeachment. McCarthy’s decision — perceived in the Capitol as an implicit break from Trump, and a departure from the precedent set during the president’s 2019 impeachment — will grant individual House Republicans more leeway in deciding how to cast their votes.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the outgoing Republican Senate Majority leader, told associates Tuesday he was “pleased” Democrats are moving to impeach Trump and that he believed the president had committed impeachable offenses, according to the New York Times.