- Rep. Tom Rice defended his vote to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol insurrection.
- The South Carolina lawmaker called Trump a “bully” and said his actions were “completely despicable.”
- Rice faces several Republican challengers hoping to unseat him in a primary election.
- Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.
Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina defended his vote earlier this year to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
“I took an oath to defend the Constitution. I didn’t take an oath to defend Donald Trump,” Rice said in an interview with The Washington Post published on Sunday. “What he did was a frontal assault on the Constitution.”
Rice expressed no regrets over his decision, telling his constituents at an event last week that Trump was a “bully” and that his actions on that day were “completely despicable,” The Post reported.
“I will vote that way every single time,” the Republican lawmaker said, according to The Post.
Rice also blasted Trump for tweeting an attack against Vice President Mike Pence while his supporters were storming the Capitol and Pence was being rushed to safety.
“For him to be calling Mike Pence a coward and him sitting at the White House surrounded by Secret Service and tweeting while Mike Pence is in the middle of all that, and he’s a coward? Give me a break,” Rice said at the event, according to The Post.
Trump had said Pence lacked “courage” for refusing to overturn the results of the presidential election over Trump’s false claims that it was “rigged” and “stolen” from him. The vice president has no authority to challenge the results, and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.
“If the president, by force, can intimidate Congress into voting their way, then we might as well do away with Congress and hand it over to a king,” Rice said. “What he did in my mind is what dictators do.”
Rice was one of 10 House Republicans who broke from their party and voted to impeach Trump in January, in the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history. His vote shocked many GOP lawmakers, who called him to make sure it wasn’t an accident, The Post reported.
Several pro-Trump Republicans have launched campaigns to unseat Rice in a primary election in his district in South Carolina.
“If you want a congressman who’s going to choose a personality over the Constitution, I’m not your guy,” Rice said at the event last week, according to The Post.
The Post reported that some of Rice’s constituents were frustrated by his impeachment vote and described his job as in jeopardy. But Rice is trying to win voters over by pointing to his record: He voted with Trump 94% of the time and helped draft the GOP’s tax legislation in 2017.
“If it cost me the job, then it cost me the job,” Rice told The Post. “I hope it doesn’t.”