Local Lawmakers Vote Against Impeaching President Trump

Reps. Vern Buchanan and Greg Steube both opposed the effort to remove Trump from office for inciting violence last week.

By Cooper Levey-Baker January 14, 2021

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, (left) speaking with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, earlier this year.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump became the first American president to be impeached twice, when the United States House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach him for inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol last week. Both Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican who represents northern Sarasota County and Manatee County, and Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican who represents southern Sarasota County and other areas, voted against the impeachment.

The impeachment resolution accuses the president of "inciting violence against the Government of the United States" last Wednesday, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress was voting on whether to accept the results of last year's presidential election. Five people died during the riot, including a member of the Capitol Police force, whose death is being investigated as a homicide, and a protestor, who was shot by a law enforcement officer. Three others died from medical emergencies.

All of the Democrats in the House voted to impeach Trump, as did 10 Republican members. In Florida, the vote fell along partisan lines. In a statement, Buchanan called the impeachment effort "divisive and misguided."

Speaking on Wednesday, Steube explained his no vote by arguing that "there was no language in the president's speech that incited or provoked violence." In an earlier speech, delivered on Tuesday, Steube described the installation of metal detectors in the Capitol since last week's violence as "atrocities."

What happens next remains unclear. No details on when a Senate trial of Trump may take place have been released, and The New York Times reports that it is "unlikely" that the Senate will take any action before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president next Wednesday, Jan. 20. If Trump is convicted, it is possible he would be barred from holding elected office again.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation bulletin obtained by ABC News, groups are planning armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C., between now and inauguration day. NPR has reported that 20,000 members of the National Guard will be in D.C. during the inauguration period in order to maintain security during the transition.

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