A resolution condemning the Capitol riot of January 6 and calling for President Trump’s resignation or removal passed the Vermont House today on a one-sided vote. Seven Days reported the tally as 130 to 6. VTDigger reported 130 to 16. But it was a voice vote, so I’m not sure where the numbers come from. All the “No” votes were cast by Republicans, but represent a small percentage of the GOP caucus.
There was apparently no floor debate. But there was some discussion of the resolution earlier in the day, at a House Republican caucus meeting captured on video. A total of eight lawmakers spoke in opposition, which again calls into question the 130 to 6 tally. Those eight do not include Rutland Rep. Tom Terenzini, who didn’t speak in caucus but opposed the measure as well. I count at least nine “No” votes.
So who are they? Reps. Lisa Hango, Patrick Brennan, Carl Rosenquist, Brian Smith, Lynn Batchelor, Vicky Strong, Mark Higley, Rodney Graham and Terenzini. (Two members, Reps. Bob Helm and Art Peterson, made remarks that did not disclose how they would vote.) We’ll get to their statements after the jump.
Several Republicans voiced strong support for the measure, most notably Reps. Felisha Leffler, Scott Beck, Lynn Dickinson and Scheuermann. Referring to the rioters, Scheuermann said, “What they were doing was appalling. I was ashamed. I thought it critical for us to do this as a body.”
Leffler urged every member to support the resolution. “What happened yesterday has nothing to do with Republican principles,” she said, labeling it “domestic terrorism.”
“Obviously, the President was inciting a riot,” Dickinson said. “Those people were a mob.”
Beck was equally blunt. “The President of the United States encouraged and incited an attempted coup,” he said.
Those are some impressively strong words from elected Republicans about their commander-in-chief. Now let’s hear from the opponents.
Most of them expressed limited support but balked at the call for Trump’s removal from office, while a couple descended into the realm of nutbaggery. Hango was the first of the nine to speak, labeling the resolution “reactionary, inflammatory and politically motivated. If it simply condemned the terrible violence that happened yesterday, I would wholeheartedly support it” I’d say the real inflamers were Trump and his minions, but whatever.
“I personally think President Trump is a moron,” said Brennan. “He’s incited this, no doubt… [but] this is urging the removal of the President.” He worried that “that could trigger more unrest.” Perhaps, but does he really want “a moron” who incited violence to be President for even one more day? I guess so.
Two lawmakers from the Kingdom provided the most outlandish rationales, and Strong takes the grand prize. “We’re reacting to something that happened 24 hours ago,” she said. “The news is constantly changing, and can we even trust the news?” She was apparently referencing far-right claims that Antifa infiltrators were responsible for the violence.
Yeah, Antifa members carrying Trump banners and Confederate flags and wearing shirts that said “Camp Auschwitz” and “Six million were not enough.”
Batchelor launched a “both sides” argument, citing Black Lives Matter protests. “This wasn’t much different than what happened in Oregon and Seattle, Washington and so on, which nobody said a word about. No press, no nothing.”
Well, she’s dead wrong about the lack of discussion or news coverage. Images of street violence filled our TV screens for much of the summer. And for her information, the difference is that the Trumpist uprising was an attack on the very embodiment of our democracy — the U.S. Congress. Its intent was to derail the approval of the Electoral College vote and keep Trump in power at all costs. It posed an imminent threat to every lawmaker and staffer, and most of the top members of the presidential line of succession plus the Vice President-elect.
Yeah, but besides that they’re exactly the same.
So, the resolution passed with a minimal quantity of far-right rhetoric. That’s a good thing. And it’s good to know that the vast majority of the House Republican caucus supported the measure. As I said in my previous post, every Republican has a choice to make. Most of our Republican lawmakers chose wisely.