South Carolina Republicans Stunned By Tom Rice's Vote To Impeach
South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice was one of 10 Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching President Trump – a decision that stunned Republicans and Democrats in the conservative 7th District.
Rice said he voted for President Trump twice. A staunch conservative, Rice won reelection with more than 60% of the vote.
And he voted against certifying Joe Biden’s victory last week — even after the right-wing mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.
He had initially said he would not vote to impeach, but after thinking about the president’s response, he changed his mind. He discussed his decision in an interview with WMBF News.
“President Trump was tweeting that Vice President Pence didn’t have the courage to do what was right and just further angering the crowd,” Rice said.
He said he doesn’t know whether the president’s words and actions before the riot incited the mob. But he said once the violence began, the president’s lack of response was disqualifying.
He said that while he another congressmen were huddled on the floor, “the president offered only very tepid request for restraint. Things like, 'the vote was stolen, but don’t be too violent.' Things like that.”
Horry Democratic County chair Tom Kohn praised Rice for, in his words, voting his conscience. Asked whether he imagined Rice would have ever voted for impeachment, Kohn said: “Not, not at all.”
He added: “He’s definitely not been known as a maverick. I can’t recall one example I could give you where he went against the party on anything significant.”
Republicans are stunned.
“I’ve already had phone calls,” said Dreama Perdue, the chair of the Horry County GOP. “There’s people already lining up (to run against him). There will be several who are already throwing their hats in the ring against him.”
Horry County is home to Myrtle Beach – and where Rice started his political career on the Horry County Council.
“Right now there are so many people who are angry and disappointed in him. They will not vote for him again,” she said.
Next door in Marion County, Jeanne Lumpkin, the chair of the county Republican Party, said her reaction Wednesday was “shock, for one thing.”
“The Marion County Republican Party were very big Tom Rice supporters,” she said. “We put out a lot of signs. Put out a lot of time to get him reelected. And to have him vote that way just floored us.”
In his interview, Rice said that if his vote costs him his job in 2022 then “so be it.”