John Curtis in anguish over whether to support impeachment of Trump
“I just feel sick to my stomach,” the Utah congressman says in a video, weighing his options.
(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) Utah Rep. John Curtis, shown in 2020, who voted against a challenge of electoral votes pushed by Trump, has signed on as a supporter for a resolution merely to censure the president after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
As the House set the table for a vote on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump a second time, Rep. John Curtis publicly agonized about it — saying supporting impeachment would the easiest move but would throw away all due process that any American deserves.
“I just feel sick to my stomach,” the Republican said in a video explaining his personal wrestling on the issue. “I ache for where we’re at as a country and we’ve got … to turn the corner on this.”
That came after the House voted 223-205 Tuesday night — with all four members from Utah voting in opposition — for a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump as unfit. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said if Pence does not do that — and Pence wrote Tuesday that he will not — the House would then hold a vote Wednesday on impeachment.
Meanwhile, Curtis explained his indecision so far on whether to support impeachment in his video. Meanwhile, he was among a few Republicans who introduced a resolution that would merely censure Trump for his actions — saying that would be a critical step while perhaps the House performed a more in-depth impeachment inquiry.
“People say, ‘Well, do the hard thing and vote for impeachment.’ I want you to know with every fiber of my body, that’s actually the easy thing to do,” he said in his video. “The hard thing, in my opinion, is to not vote for impeachment.” He said that a quick vote to impeach Trump amounts to “throwing away due process. We are totally throwing away the right for an individual to represent themselves. We’re totally throwing away this concept of innocent until proven guilty.”
Curtis said he realizes that people say they saw with their own eyes plenty of evidence that Trump incited a riot with his claims of being robbed in the election, and Curtis like other members of Congress personally saw the storming of the Capitol.
“Well, I’m sorry. That doesn’t justify throwing out all these principles [of due process] out the door,” Curtis said.
He adds he’s not yet sure whether Trump truly caused the riot at the Capitol.
“This riot was predetermined. It was premeditated. Don’t tell me that the president’s speech [that morning] is what caused this to happen,” he said.
“You can tell me that he encouraged it and incited it. And I’m going to agree with you. But these people came with zip ties to Washington, D.C. These people came with a plan to Washington, D.C., and we don’t have all the details of exactly what unfolded and why the Capitol was left unprotected.”
Rep. Blake Moore, who also voted against the electoral vote challenge interrupted by the riot, said earlier that he opposed invoking the 25th Amendment because it would further divide Americans. He has not said specifically about how he would vote on impeachment.
Reps. Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens have been silent about moves to remove Trump, and have not responded to requests for comment. Both are strong allies of Trump, and both voted to overturn electoral votes — even after the Capitol was stormed.
If the House approves articles of impeachment, it would go to the Senate for an impeachment trial — but that may not happen until after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. Utah GOP Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee have not yet said exactly what they think about a possible impeachment.
Romney said on Monday, however, that “when the president incites an attack against Congress, there must be a meaningful consequence. We will be considering those options and the best course for our nation in the days ahead.”