Republican Rep. Tom Rice on Sunday argued that impeaching former President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” was the “conservative vote” and said that he “would do it again tomorrow.”
During an interview with ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week,” the South Carolina lawmaker — who was among the 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach former President Trump — said that his vote was made in adherence to the Constitution.
“Defending the Constitution is a bedrock of the Republican platform, defend the Constitution, and that’s what I did. That was the conservative vote. There’s no question in my mind,” he said.
Rice pointed to the crowd of Trump supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence” at the Capitol as the riot unfolded. “When (Trump) watched the Capitol Police officers being beaten for three or four hours and lifted not one finger to stop it. The more I read about that, the more I learned about — it was clear to me what I had to do,” Rice said. “I am livid about it. I took an oath to protect the Constitution.” He emphasized: “I did it then, and I would do it again tomorrow.”
Asked about Trump deriding him as a “total fool” during a recent appearance in his district, Rice said he voted with Trump 169 out of 190 times. “If I’m a disaster and a total fool, and I voted with him 169 times, what does that make him?” he said. “I mean — I’m taking his lead. But I said at the time, he’s a narcissist, and he’s driven by attention and he’s driven by revenge.”
Rice said “the only way” he “might consider” supporting Trump is if the former president apologized for his “huge mistake” on Jan. 6. “If he came out and said, ‘I’m sorry I made a huge mistake on January 6th,'” the congressman said, “then I might consider it.”
Rice also dodged answering whether he’d back Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California to become House speaker if Republicans win back control of the House this fall, but didn’t hesitate to boost fellow Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming for the role.
“I think she’d be a great speaker,” the congressman said. “I think she is a real Republican, I think she is very conservative, and I think she’s a fearless leader.”
Rice ended the interview by reiterating that he does not regret his impeachment vote and that even if he ends up losing the GOP primary, “It will be worth it.” He added, “I’ll wear it like a badge. So be it.”
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