What Minnesota’s representatives said about their impeachment votes

    Congresswoman Betty McCollum presides over U.S. House of Representatives Floor proceedings on January 13, 2021. Photo courtesy House Recording Studio, U.S. House of Representatives

    Minnesota’s eight U.S. representatives split along party lines in their votes on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, the second in 13 months.

    House Democrats were joined by 10 Republicans in voting to impeach Trump on one count of “incitement of insurrection” for encouraging the mob that violently besieged the Capitol last week resulting in five deaths.

    The article of impeachment next goes before the U.S. Senate, which has the power to convict the president of the charge and remove him from office. It’s unlikely, however, that the Senate will be able to vote on impeachment before Trump’s term expires and President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

    Here’s what Minnesota’s representatives said about their votes:

    1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R, voted no

    “Instead of looking toward the future and doing the business of the American people, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have prosecuted another unwarranted and politically-motivated impeachment.

    “This latest effort by House Democrats to impeach President Trump is further dividing an already splintered nation and subjecting the American people to yet another partisan battle. Democrats began working to impeach and remove the President before he even took the Oath of Office four years ago. They lack credibility on this issue. It is time to move forward as a nation.”

    2nd District Rep. Angie Craig, DFL, voted yes

    “Nearly four years ago, on the steps of the United States Capitol, President-elect Donald Trump swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to faithfully execute the duties of his office to the best of his ability. Last week, the nation watched in horror as an angry mob of insurrectionists – summoned and incited by President Trump – marched on those same steps and attacked the Capitol, resulting in five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer.

    “Like President Trump, I took an oath to uphold our Constitution and defend our Democracy. Unlike the President, I intend to uphold mine. After witnessing and experiencing the January 6th attack on our Capitol, it is clear that President Trump asked these terrorists to show up in Washington, assembled them and incited them to march to the Capitol to attack a separate branch of government. For that reason, I am voting today in support of his impeachment.”

    3rd District Rep. Dean Phillips, DFL, voted yes. 

    “We will be impeaching the President of the United States for the second time in his term with solemnity, with sobriety and with intention. Those who are calling for unity, with which I agree, must be reminded that without accountability, we cannot have unity. Without consequence and without the rule of law, we have no America.

    “I am very resolute, to fulfill my oath to the constitution and ensure the preservation of our Republic. I will be joined by a number of Republicans, all Democrats and maybe even the United States Senate. At that point, we can begin the arduous but important work of repair, rehabilitation and re-recognition of what connects us all and unifies us all: the love of our country.”

    4th District Rep. Betty McCollum, DFL, voted yes. 

    “I was honored to serve as the Presiding Officer in the U.S. House of Representatives for the second impeachment proceedings of a sitting president, which has never happened before in the history of the United States. The debate of such a serious matter was conducted fairly and with a decorum that I hope will guide this legislative body for the rest of the 117th Congress.

    “I voted to impeach President Trump for incitement of insurrection. Inspired, encouraged, and supported by the president, last week’s violent attack on Congress was an act of domestic terrorism. The U.S. Capitol building was desecrated and vandalized. Members of Congress, their staff members, Vice President Pence, and those who work in this temple of American democracy were put in danger. The women and men of the U.S. Capitol Police who work every day to protect us were beaten and attacked. Two officers lost their lives as a result of this tragedy.

    “Make no mistake, this was a terrorist plot to disrupt Congress and to prevent Congress from performing its duty under the U.S. Constitution to certify the results of the Electoral College. For the safety of our nation, this president must be removed from office before he inflicts more damage to our democracy.”

    5th District Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL, voted yes 

    “Let us not mince words about what happened last week: it was a violent attempt to interrupt our democratic process. It was a targeted blow at the most essential process that makes us a democracy. And it was directly and specifically incited by the president of the United States. For years, we have been asked to turn a blind eye to the criminality, corruption, and blatant disregard for the rule of law from this tyrant in the White House. We as a nation can no longer look away.

    “The President not only incited an insurrection against our government, but has in word and deed, led a rebellion. We cannot simply move past this or turn the page. For us to be able to survive as a functioning democracy, there has to be accountability. The very administration officials who have been complicit in his crimes cannot be relied upon. We must impeach and remove this president from office immediately so that he cannot threaten our democracy and the world any longer or hold public office ever again.”

    6th District Rep. Tom Emmer, R, voted no 

    “In one week, a peaceful transfer of power will occur that has been the hallmark of our Republic. Today’s vote only serves to further the division in our country at a time when our country desperately needs to move forward together.”

    7th District Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R, voted no 

    “With fewer than seven days remaining in this administration, we should be focused on moving forward and getting back to work on behalf of the American people.”

    8th District Rep. Pete Stauber, R, voted no 

    “Life most Americans, I am shocked and outraged over the violent riots that took place in the halls of Congress one week ago. I condemn the rioters’ actions and believe those individuals must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

    “What happened last Wednesday is a blatant sign that tensions are running high and the rhetoric on both sides has gotten out of control. It is imperative that leaders across the nation take this moment to unite our country.

    “With that being said, I believe efforts to impeach the president contradict the idea of unity and will only further divide our already divided nation. President Trump has just days left in his presidency and he has promised a peaceful transfer of power.

    “America needs to heal, so I do not support these rushed efforts to impeach the president.

    “Instead, I will be a part of the healing process and plan to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden next week.”

    Max Nesterak
    Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.