House Republicans are warning Democrats against impeaching President Trump after Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol, saying such a move so close to Inauguration Day would prove divisive.
“I’m opposed to impeachment. I think at this point in time, it’s more important to focus on healing and doing a peaceful transition of power as the president himself has conceded where we are and impeachment just inflames those that believe this election has been stolen. And it’s time to move forward,” Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) told The Hill.
Another GOP lawmaker also said they felt impeachment could further inflame extremists’ worst instincts, stating that they need to affirm that they are taking voters’ concerns about the security of elections seriously and dispel conspiracies to build confidence in the democracy.
House Democrats have indicated they are prepared to move forward with articles of impeachment as early as next week if Vice President Pence does not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Multiple GOP lawmakers speaking on background said that while they believe Trump’s rhetoric ahead of and during the riot may rise to an impeachable offense, they felt that voting to impeach or invoking the 25th Amendment could fan the flames for further violence ahead of Inauguration Day.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday released a statement calling for unity and a smooth transition of power.
“Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more. I have reached out to President-elect [Joe] Biden today and plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature and unite the country to solve America’s challenges,” he said.
“The coronavirus is still coursing through our communities, businesses and workers are facing unprecedented stress, and children are falling behind. Threats from adversaries such as Russia, China, and Iran are increasing. As leaders, we must call on our better angels and refocus our efforts on working directly for the American people. United we can deliver the peace, strength, and prosperity our country needs. Divided, we will fail.”
So far, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) is the only House Republican to publicly back invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) on Friday became the first GOP senator to call for Trump’s removal.