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In his own words: Why U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis voted against Trump impeachment

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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis voted against impeaching President Donald Trump, saying the process was rushed and would heighten division at a time when the country needs unity. 

A majority of the U.S. House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for a second time, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Davis, a Taylorville Republican who had been an honorary chairman of Trump's Illinois campaign, said the president, many of his allies in Congress and media commentators on the right deserve blame for circumstances leading to what he called "one of the worst days this great country has ever seen." 

"There must be accountability for leaders who deliberately misled the public," said Davis, who represents the 13th Congressional District, "but I fear that without thoughtful and clear-eyed leadership from both sides of the aisle, we are in danger of further violence and political unrest."

The impeachment proceedings came one week after a violent, pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and revealing the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power. Five people died.

Read the congressman's full statement below: 

"We are at a perilous moment in our Nation’s history. President Trump, many of his allies in Congress, and media commentators on the right deserve blame for the circumstances that led up to one of the worst days this great country has ever seen. Since November, many in my party perpetuated the lie that the election was “stolen” and gave false hope to millions that the president could somehow remain in office after January 20th. That was never going to happen. There must be accountability for leaders who deliberately misled the public, but I fear that without thoughtful and clear-eyed leadership from both sides of the aisle, we are in danger of further violence and political unrest.

"While a convenient talking point, we must be honest that our country did not arrive at this moment in the last two months, or simply the last four years. Though many prefer not to admit it, political deception is a bipartisan disease that seems only to worsen and lead to violence. Last Wednesday is the second time in my short Congressional career that I’ve needed to thank law enforcement for saving my life during an act of political violence. The former because a deranged gunman believed leaders and agitators on the left that I and my Republican colleagues were a danger to America. We as a country have got to do better.

"There must be a full accounting of what happened leading up to and on the day of January 6th. Law enforcement must have all resources necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice. That investigation should be unimpeded and free from partisan influence. The investigation should be conducted in such a manner to sooth tensions and provide the public with confidence that law and order will prevail.

"Process matters. A snap impeachment conducted without a full investigation or without due process for the president accomplishes nothing. At a time when political tensions are at an all-time high, impeachment will drive people further into their corners and could lead to additional violence. Unlike what some Democratic leaders are saying, President Trump will not be removed from office under this process. The Democrats’ stated goal to punish the president and bar him from seeking federal office in the future certainly isn’t urgent. He will be removed from office under the law in less than one week. We need to lower temperatures, not enflame them. If, when a full accounting of the facts of January 6th comes in, Pelosi and the Democrats wish to punish President Trump, they can pursue that process with their party’s total control of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

"Our nation needs sober-minded leaders who will sooth a wounded electorate. President-elect Biden has missed an opportunity to act on his promise of unifying the country by calling for calm and pledging to listen to those who feel so ignored by our elected leaders. He is now the face of his party and will be the legitimately elected leader of our country in a matter days. I stand ready to work with President-elect Biden on solutions to the many problems our country faces. We should all wish President Biden success, for when he succeeds, our nation succeeds."


Contact Allison Petty at (217) 421-6986. Follow her on Twitter: @AllisonAPetty

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“You’re trying to teach future presidents that there is, in fact, a line,” said Lane Crothers, a professor of politics and government at ISU. “When you’ve had a president who has been so active in breaking norms, and so happy or so willing to transgress norms, eventually you need to continually state, ‘This is the kind of stuff that’s going to get you impeached,’ even if it doesn’t get you convicted.”

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