Electoral College Protests Trump

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ORG XMIT: DCJM469

The U.S. House likely will vote Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting an attack on the U.S. Capitol last week that “gravely endangered” Congress, with none of Louisiana’s four Republican members expected to break ranks and support the Democratic-led effort.

U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins and Mike Johnson have said they will vote against the impeachment motion. U.S. Rep. Garret Graves has not announced his intentions beforehand but will likely join them.

None of the four voted Tuesday night for the Democrats’ motion that called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and deem Trump unfit for office and remove him if a majority of the Cabinet agreed. That motion passed 223-205 along party lines. The vote was mostly symbolic because Pence announced earlier that day that he would not invoke the amendment.

US House Resolution 21 calling on Vice President Pence to mobilize the Cabinet to activate 25th Amendment to declare President Donald Trump in…

Passage of that resolution sets up the impeachment motion Wednesday. The resolution accuses Trump of having “engaged in High Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States” in an attempt to interfere with Congress certifying that President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump in November.

For weeks, Republicans have been following Trump's lead in questioning whether Biden won or saying that Biden stole the election. Now they say the need for unity, in the wake of last week's assault on the Capitol, compels them to vote against impeachment.

"The sheerly political and divisive actions House Democrats have put on the Floor this week to attempt to remove President Trump from office, just days before his term expires, are contrary to the unity we need and would in fact further fuel the dangerous tensions we are seeing," Scalise said in a statement Tuesday night. "I will not vote in support of these divisive actions."

“I am firmly opposed to this Democrat political stunt,” Higgins, of Lafayette, said in a statement. “I am a NO on any impeachment vote and the resolution to invoke 25th Amendment procedures. These unwarranted maneuvers only serve to further divide our country.”

Graves, of Baton Rouge, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday in advance of the votes.

Democrats are trying to remove Trump from office only a week before he reluctantly steps aside for Biden. But Democrats are infuriated with how Trump, without evidence, spent weeks trying to negate Biden’s victory while revving up his supporters and then used bellicose language in calling on them last Wednesday to march on the Capitol, and they did.

The impeachment motion includes this statement by Trump: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

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The attack left five people dead, including one police officer who was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher launched by someone in the mob. On Tuesday, Trump said he bore no responsibility for what happened.

Republicans in Louisiana – which Trump won with 58.4% of the vote – have remained in step with the president, unlike Republicans in many other states.

Scalise, Johnson and Higgins voted on Wednesday night and Thursday morning last week against certifying the presidential electors in two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, hours after rioters had breached security to occupy and vandalize the Capitol before police flushed them out. Graves voted to seat Arizona’s electors but not Pennsylvania’s.

Afterward, all four of them condemned the rampage at the Capitol, but only Graves has questioned Trump’s actions.

On Friday, Graves called on the president to apologize said he should be “making it crystal clear that he made huge mistakes … He effectively needs to resign. What I mean by that is that effectively he will not be out there talking, speaking, wielding the full authority and power of the White House and maybe even technically finding a way to hand over the keys to Pence.”

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, will vote for the impeachment motion in one of his final acts before resigning to take a senior White House position with the Biden administration.

After the House approves the impeachment, it will be up to the Senate for the second time in two years to decide whether to vote to remove Trump from office, if that vote were to take place before Jan. 20.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, who voted to certify the Pennsylvania electors but not those from Arizona, was not available Tuesday to discuss his thoughts on the impeachment motion, said a spokesperson. Kennedy, who rarely shies from getting publicity, has remained quiet in recent days after receiving a torrent of criticism for his effort to undermine Biden’s victory.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, who infuriated Trump supporters by voting to certify the electors in both states, also did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Louisiana’s 5th congressional seat – a sprawling district that includes Monroe, Alexandria and Bogalusa – is vacant after the death two weeks ago of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow from Covid-19 complications.

The primary elections to replace Richmond and Letlow will be on March 20.

Email Tyler Bridges at tbridges@theadvocate.com.