What Celeste Maloy says about Donald Trump’s impeachments and Jan. 6

Maloy, the GOP nominee in Utah’s special congressional election, called Trump’s impeachment ‘political grandstanding.’

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Celeste Maloy in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.

As former President Donald Trump again leads the race as Republicans’ nominee to next year’s election, Utah’s GOP nominee to fill the state’s open congressional seat says Trump’s impeachment for efforts to overturn his loss in the last presidential election was “political grandstanding.”

Celeste Maloy, who was working as former Rep. Chris Stewart’s legal counsel at the time, says that the U.S. House of Representatives should have never moved to impeach Trump, especially for his role in the Jan. 6, calling the effort “political grandstanding” because Trump was going to leave office when Biden was sworn in a few days later.

“I think we’ve made impeachment too easy of a process. It’s supposed to be an absolute last resort,” Maloy said.

Five days after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House began a second round of impeachment proceedings against the outgoing president.

“At the time impeachment was started, there was no doubt that President Trump was not going to be removed from office,” the GOP congressional candidate told The Salt Lake Tribune during an interview. “I think we should be more thoughtful and make sure an impeachment never looks like political grandstanding.”

Maloy would not answer questions from The Tribune on what advice she gave to Stewart leading up to and after the attempted insurrection.

Shortly after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, Stewart said on Twitter, now called X, that legal votes should be counted and allegations of fraud should be investigated. Two months later, and just days before the Jan. 6 attack, Stewart said he wouldn’t vote to certify the 2020 election results.

“After serious thought and consideration, I will not vote to certify the election. I believe there are critical questions that need to be answered concerning our presidential election,” he wrote in a Twitter thread on Jan. 4, 2020, adding issues around “voting irregularities, ballot integrity and security, and the implementation of state election laws” needed to be resolved.

“I feel like I shouldn’t be telling you what I told him to do,” Maloy told The Tribune. “As far as the conversations that happen in his office with his staff, I don’t feel like that’s mine to talk to the press about because that was his decision.”

Maloy also refused to answer what she might have done if she were in Stewart’s place but appears to disagree with his decision to reject the 2020 election results.

“I think that states certify their own elections, and Congress doesn’t have a role to play in telling the states whether they got it right or wrong.”

Maloy’s stance aligns with an electoral count reform bill passed by Congress in 2022, making it more difficult for Congress to reject a state’s slate of electors. Maloy did not respond to questions from The Tribune about whether her stance changed with the passage of that legislation.

The Republican congressional candidate does not hesitate when asked who won the last presidential election.

“Joe Biden,” she says.