Johnson votes against punishing Trump

WASHINGTON — Five out of Ohio’s 16 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a second impeachment of President Donald Trump Wednesday, alongside the remaining 227 majority.

But only one of Ohio’s 12 Republican delegates to that legislative body was among them.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, representing the 16th District, broke party ranks Wednesday supporting the impeachment, noting the attack on the Capitol last week put the lives of lawmakers in “grave danger as a result of the president’s actions.”

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, representing the southern and eastern border counties of Ohio’s 6th District (18 counties including Athens, Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison, Meigs, Monroe, Noble and Washington) voted against both a second impeachment of the president and against the House’s call for use of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.

In a statement released via Twitter Tuesday evening, Johnson foreshadowed both votes, calling on fellow legislators to “stop the political showboating” while tangentially acknowledging President-Elect Joe Biden’s now-certified win of the 2020 presidential election.

“[L]et the smooth transition of power complete next week, and let’s get back to work doing the work the American people rightfully expect us to do…and, that work is to represent them,” he said.

Johnson also shared similar calls for unity after the Capitol riots comparable to that of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who released a statement on the attack Tuesday.

“A 25th Amendment measure or impeachment will do nothing to help America heal, but will certainly widen the division,” said Johnson. “To intentionally further alienate tens of millions of Americans with raw nerves who already feel alienated economically and culturally by America’s political, corporate, academic, and media elites is both reckless and potentially further destabilizing.”

But where the statements differed, were in assigning responsibility of the riot in Washington D.C. last week.

“Both in his words before the attack on the Capitol and in his actions afterward, President Trump bears some responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6,” said Portman. “If our nation experiences additional violence and destruction at the hands of his supporters in Washington D.C. and state capitols around the country, and he does not directly and unambiguously speak out now when threats are known, he will bear responsibility.”

Portman followed those Tuesday comments with a second release Wednesday after the House voted to impeach and after Trump’s administration released a statement asking supporters to conduct no more violence.

“It was important that the President clearly stated today that violence of any kind is unacceptable,” said Portman. “Today the House voted to impeach the president for his role in the events of Jan. 6. If the Senate proceeds with an impeachment trial, I will do my duty as a juror and listen to the cases presented by both sides. President-Elect Biden has rightly said he wants to set a new tone of greater unity as his administration begins. All of us should be concerned about the polarization in our country and work toward bringing people together. If the Senate conducts an impeachment trial, among my considerations will be what is best to help heal our country rather than deepen our divisions.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has not released a statement on the impeachment trial now expected to occur in the Senate after the transfer of power but did release a statement on Jan. 7 supporting the invocation of the 25th Amendment.

“Domestic terrorists attacked our seat of government, at the behest of the President of the United States,” he said, calling the attack a “desperate attempt to overturn the will of the American voters.”

Brown and Johnson were unavailable for additional comment to Ogden Newspapers staff Wednesday.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.


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