With 25th Amendment Vote, California Republicans Grapple With Last Days Of The Trump Administration

(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Members of Southern California's GOP Congressional delegation joined nearly all of their Republican colleagues Tuesday night in voting against a House resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence and members of the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office.

The resolution passed 223-205 with only a single Republican — Adam Kinzinger from Illinois — voting yes. Newly-installed Congresswoman Michelle Steel from Orange County abstained from voting after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Democrats argued the action was necessary because Trump incited the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last week, and poses a continued risk to national security.

"He told the mob, we are going to the Capitol and to fight like hell, and they did," said Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank, speaking from the House floor. "Five died. Many more were hurt, and we were seconds away from something much worse."

But by the time members began voting on the resolution authored by Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Pence had already rejected the idea in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The vote was "no more than political theater," Congressman Mike Garcia, who represents Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley, said in a statement. Garcia was one of seven California Republicans who voted to challenge the electoral college votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania last week after rioters broke into the Capitol. "I am confident that Vice President Pence would have invoked the 25th Amendment had he felt it necessary," he added.

Some Republicans echoed calls for unity from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

"The first step towards that healing is for all Americans to support the Constitutional transfer of power on January 20th without any additional violence," said GOP Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside. "Invoking the 25th Amendment or pursuing impeachment in the final hours of this administration will only tear our country further apart."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to bring a single article of impeachment to the floor on Wednesday. Pelosi named Los Angeles-area Congressman Ted Lieu as one of nine impeachment managers.

If the measure passes, Trump will be the first president in history impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

Reportedly, as many as a dozen Republicans may vote for impeachment, though there's no sign of support from California GOP members. But one Southern California Republican appears to be carving a path to officially rebuke the president while stopping short of impeaching him.

On Tuesday, Orange County Republican Rep. Young Kim helped introduce a concurrent resolution to censure Trump "for trying to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and violating his oath of office on January 6, 2021."

"The president also misled many Americans to believe that the outcome of the election could change on January 6th, when that simply was not true, and must be held accountable for his role," Kim said in a statement. "I believe censuring the president after his actions helps hold him accountable and could garner wide bipartisan support, allowing the House to remain united during some of our nation's darkest days.

The California Republican Party on Tuesday snapped back at the Sacramento Bee editorial board, which called for several GOP members of California's congressional delegation to resign, including McCarthy, for their role in objecting to the electoral college certification and perpetuating Trump's false claims of a stolen election.

"McCarthy will be remembered as an architect of failed insurrection and a servile opportunist who led House Republicans off of a cliff to impress a madman," the Editorial Board said.

"Republicans have and will continue to denounce the violence that took place at the United States Capitol," state party chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a joint statement with State Senate Republican leader Shannon Grove. "Those responsible for this attack on our democracy do not speak for the Republican Party or reflect our values, which include above all else, freedom, respect, and personal responsibility."

Last week, Grove deleted a tweet falsely claiming the attack on the Capitol was carried out by the leftist anti-fascist movement known as antifa.