Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo

Majority of Mississippi’s House delegation votes against Trump's second impeachment

By Taylor Vance

TUPELO • After opposing a resolution that urged the vice president to remove the president from office, the majority of members representing Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted against impeaching President Donald Trump on charges of inciting an attempted violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol last week.

The state’s delegation split along partisan lines with all three GOP members – Reps. Trent Kelly, Michael Guest and Steven Palazzo – voting against the measure, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, supporting it.

Even though all three of the state’s Republican officials voted against impeachment, the House voted 232 to 197 in favor of the measure, making Trump, a Republican, the first president in the nation’s history to be impeached twice.

The impeachment charge comes one week after a violent, pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol and attempted to disrupt Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, as the winner of the presidential election.

Impeachment is a formal charge that acknowledges the House believes the president committed a crime, but it does not automatically remove Trump from office.

The articles will be transmitted to the Senate, which likely won’t consider the articles until after Trump’s term has expired.

U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, who represents north Mississippi in Congress, said that the actions to impeach the president are “not helpful to our nation.”

“This is a time for healing and not division,” Kelly said in a statement released prior to Wednesday’s vote. “I will vote no on impeachment.”

Officials from Thompson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the lone Democrat in Congress made his thoughts known on social media on Monday by tweeting, “Impeach the loser liar in chief!” presumably referring to the president.

Guest, who represents the state’s third congressional district, previously said in a statement that he opposed impeachment because it would “divide our country even further.”

“As we begin preparing for a transfer of power from one administration to another in less than 10 days, I believe it is vitally important to allow our nation to heal, and I believe these actions that are being pushed on the House floor would prevent our nation from beginning the healing process,” Guest said.

Palazzo, who represents Mississippi’s fourth congressional district, also said that impeachment would cause needless division.

“It is abundantly clear that America is experiencing a time of uncertainty and turmoil, and we do not need to add more fuel to an already burning fire,” Palazzo said. “President-elect Biden will be sworn into office in a mere eight days and, as President Trump promised, there will be a peaceful transition of power on January 20.”

The three GOP representatives on Tuesday also voted against a non-binding resolution that urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump from office. Thompson voted in favor of the resolution.

Now that Trump has been impeached, House leadership can decide when to send the articles over to the Senate. However, under the current schedule, the Senate is not set to resume full sessions until Jan. 19, which is the day before President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated.

For now, the Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump before Biden is sworn in as president Jan. 20. Still, Democrats feel that action by the House would send an important message to the country.

Wicker, a Republican residing in Tupelo, said in a recent statement that he opposed efforts to remove Trump from office through both impeachment and invoking the 25th amendment.

“In accordance with our Constitution, the orderly transfer of power will occur at noon on January 20,” Wicker said. “The best way for our country to heal and move past the events of last week would be for this process to continue.”

Hyde-Smith, the state’s junior senator who is from Brookhaven, has not said publicly how she feels about impeachment, and representatives from her office did not immediately return a request for comment.

When asked this week by television station WAPT about impeachment and the 25th amendment, Hyde-Smith did not directly say if she believed Trump should be removed from office, but hinted that she would be resistant to either idea saying that the country should “get through the 10 days” left in Trump’s term.

“We’ve got 10 days left,” Hyde-Smith said. “Let’s get through the 10 days. He will leave office and let’s get on with things.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.