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Wisconsin delegation splits on second impeachment of Donald Trump
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Wisconsin delegation splits on second impeachment of Donald Trump

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Wisconsin’s congressional delegation remained just as split along party lines for President Donald Trump’s second impeachment as it was for his first.

The state’s three Democratic members of Congress joined the majority in favor of an article of impeachment that charges the president with “incitement of insurrection” for his comments before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. While 10 Republican members joined their Democratic colleagues, all five of Wisconsin’s GOP representatives stuck with their party in voting against impeachment.

With the vote, Trump has become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. The measure now heads to the U.S. Senate for trial.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, who remained silent on his eventual vote in favor of Trump’s first impeachment until the formal vote in December 2019, made his intentions abundantly clear in a statement Tuesday evening.

“If President Trump has any decency left, he should resign, otherwise, Vice President (Mike) Pence should put country before self and immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to ensure a peaceful transfer of power,” Kind said. “If he does not, we will have no choice left but to impeach President Trump.”

Shortly after the House vote, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, said he felt “relief” after what he described as “a sad week.” Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, also voted for impeachment.

“This is unprecedented in our history,” Pocan said. “In 200 years, since the War of 1812, we haven’t had a breach on the U.S. Capitol and this time we did and it wasn’t a foreign country, it was our own president.”

Former state Senate majority leader and newly elected U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a statement efforts to remove Trump from office days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20 were “not the solution.”

“The President has less than eight days remaining in his term and trying to impeach this President a second time, which has never happened before in the history of our country, is just one more divisive and political act,” Fitzgerald said.

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Fitzgerald, along with Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, who won a special election in May, joined a majority of their House Republican colleagues last week in objecting to the electoral votes in several states that went for Biden in November.

“It is now time for all of us — Democrats and Republicans alike — to turn down the temperature, condemn criminal violence and intimidation on all sides, stop the political score-settling, and move on with the business of the American people,” Tiffany said.

U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, and Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, also voted against impeachment.

Gallagher on Tuesday joined a group of House Republicans who introduced a resolution to censure the president for “unlawfully trying to overturn the 2020 election,” and violating his office.

“You censure a president when they say they’re going to grab someone by their private parts,” Pocan said. “That’s not what we do when someone leads a potential coup on the country ... you have to have accountability in order to have unity.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, of Madison, said on MSNBC Tuesday the U.S. Senate has a constitutional duty to hold a trial as soon as an article of impeachment is passed, but said it’s also important that incoming President Biden can quickly set up his cabinet to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Baldwin said “there’s no question” that Trump needs to be held accountable for his comments on Jan. 6, when he told supporters they needed to “show strength” against lawmakers who were voting that day to certify the results of the 2020 election, in which he lost to Biden.

Last week, ardent Trump supporter U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said he didn’t feel the president was responsible for the violence at the Capitol.

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