Wisconsin congressional delegation split along party lines on historic impeachment vote

NOW: Wisconsin congressional delegation split along party lines on historic impeachment vote

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – In a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump, Wisconsin House members were split along party lines in their vote, highlighting the division in the state and country.

Democrats Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Ron Kind all voted for impeachment, making President Trump the only president to be impeached twice. They emphasized the need to hold Trump accountable for his rhetoric and actions.

“The reason I think that this is so important is it’s not only because of the current president but we need to discourage future presidents from behaving in this kind of way,” Rep. Moore of Milwaukee told CBS 58. “We stand for the rule of law, no one is above the law, including The President of the United States.”

Kind echoed the sentiment.

“If what happened last Wednesday is not an impeachable offense, there is no impeachable offense,” Rep. Kind said during a video news conference. “Obviously he’s learned nothing from last week’s event, and he’s still a very dangerous person today.”

“I think relief is the biggest feeling I have at this moment,” said Rep. Mark Pocan of Madison. "The only way you can have that unity is to have accountability, whether it be from the very top —Donald Trump is the one who encouraged people to come.”

All five of Wisconsin’s House Republicans voted against impeachment, including Glenn Grothman, Bryan Steil, Scott Fitzgerald, Mike Gallagher and Tom Tiffany.

The GOP members said the move only furthers division in the country.

“Joe Biden has talked about unity and healing, is that what this is today?” Rep. Tiffany of Miocqua asked on the House floor during debate.

“Republicans and Democrats should be getting together to be taking care of some of the nation’s problems, not raising the temperature with a vote to impeach,” Rep. Grothman of Greenbush told CBS 58.

During the Capitol riot Jan. 6, Republican Representative Mike Gallagher openly called on the President to call off his event, but he still voted against President Trump’s impeachment Wednesday. 

“I strongly opposed the unconstitutional and dangerous effort to overturn the election on Jan. 6, but I think impeachment accomplishes nothing,” Rep. Mike Gallagher said in an opinion piece released after the House voted. 

Republican Congressman Bryan Steil also voted against impeachment. In a statement, he said in part:

“Despite all other challenges facing our country, like vaccine allocation and distribution, we are spending time on a divisive impeachment one week before the inauguration of the next president.”

The process now moves to the Senate.

“There must be accountability,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin said.

Baldwin supported the impeachment. The Wisconsin Democrat hopes the Senate is able to balance President Trump’s trial while also moving ahead with approving Biden administration nominees.

“In light of the multiple challenges and crises our country faces from the pandemic and the fallout from the pandemic,” Baldwin said, “We need to stand up the Biden administration quickly, because there’s a lot of work to do.”

CBS 58 reached out to Sen. Ron Johnson’s office for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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