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West Virginia delegation votes against Trump’s impeachment

WHEELING — While 10 Republicans in the United States House of Representatives voted in an otherwise partisan action to impeach outgoing President Donald Trump on Wednesday, West Virginia’s three representatives were not among them.

Trump was impeached for an unprecedented second time of his politically turbulent presidency on Wednesday, this time for “incitement of insurrection” in the wake of last week’s deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol building in which five people — including a Capitol Police officer — have since died.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle — and even the president himself — have condemned the actions of the mob that stormed the Capitol during the Jan. 6 Congressional vote to confirm electoral college votes declaring Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

While a thin majority of House members passionately voted in support of the article of impeachment, those who voted against the historic action spoke just as passionately against what many GOP members described as a continued attack on a president Democrats have repeatedly tried to remove from office for four years.

U.S. Reps. David B. McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller — all Republicans from West Virginia — voted against the article of impeachment.

McKinley said Trump “bears responsibility” for the chaotic events at the Capitol, which he called “disgusting and tragic.” Yet he also believed rushing to impeach the president days before he leaves office would do nothing to help heal the division in the country and will further hinder a smooth transition to a new administration at the White House in the coming days.

He also said that a one-day proceeding was too short a span to make an informed choice to impeach.

“With the benefit of all the facts, it may become evident that the President did indeed commit an impeachable offense,” he said. “However, with a truncated, rushed process, I can’t fairly make that judgment and will vote against the article of impeachment today.”

McKinley said like most Americans, he is angry about what happened on Jan. 6.

“But history is replete with poor judgments made in anger leading to knee-jerk reactions,” he said.

Miller also condemned last week’s attack, saying “violence of any kind does not belong in the political discourse of the United States of America.” She also said that impeachment would do nothing to narrow the gulf in a divided country.

“America is in desperate need of healing and unity, not further division,” Miller said. “President Trump will be leaving office in one week. That is why I voted today not to impeach President Trump.”

McKinley also mentioned concern that impeachment, especially when done so quickly, would only add fuel to the anger people feel.

“(A) leading Democrat stated we ‘can’t have unity without truth.’ But how do you find truth without holding hearings or assessing all the evidence? What precedent does this set for the future, when presidents could be subject to a rushed impeachment without due process? Will the House impeaching the president do anything to prevent further violence from happening, or will it simply inflame an already tense situation?”

Miller also wanted the House to focus on other matters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, mentioning the good work West Virginia has done in getting vaccine to its most vulnerable corners of the population.

“It is crucial that we get this vaccine to the many Americans who should not wait even this one week,” Miller said. “I am proud of the incredible job Gov. Jim Justice is doing to distribute vaccines across our state. The best way to spend the next week is not to continue to sow division in our nation, but rather spend our time helping our neighbors adopt the highly successful West Virginia model to eradicate COVID.”

Mooney said that while many disagreed with the content of Trump’s speech on Jan. 6, those words were protected under the First Amendment.

“Furthermore,” he said, “President Trump specifically called upon the attendees to ‘peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.’ The individuals who chose to attack the U.S. Capitol are responsible for their own actions and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

“Today’s vote to impeach the president lacks constitutional merit and only adds to further anger and division in America,” he continued. “President Trump has seven days left in office and he has repeatedly, including today, called for a peaceful transition of power. Now is the time to put partisan politics aside and work together for the best interest of America.”

West Virginia’s two Senators — Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin — did not release public comments on the impeachment as of Wednesday evening.

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