The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday following last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) did not break party ranks and voted against the resolution, which stated “that President Trump incited an insurrection against the government of the United States.”
Mr. Trump becomes the first president to be impeached twice. He was also impeached in 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and the Senate later acquitted him at trial on both charges.
Ten Republicans voted for the impeachment Wednesday, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican. The final vote was 232-197 to impeach the president, who will leave office in one week as Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Mr. Zeldin spoke during the debate Wednesday and ended his remarks by saying, “Let’s be honest that this president did a lot to make America greater than ever.”
He spoke about a “double standard” of the House rules and said Americans were lied to about collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, which was the subject of the Mueller report.
He said the president did not deserve blame for last week’s attack because rioters had already begun pushing toward the building as the president spoke at the nearby rally.
“We all know this was a pre-planned attack,” Mr. Zeldin said. “We all know that there were pipe bombs being discovered while the president was speaking. We all know that the Capitol perimeter was being breached during the president’s speech. We know this was pre-planned and it started while the president was speaking. Why is that not in the articles of impeachment?”
He then thanked the president for “his effort to defeat MS-13 in my district.”
The impeachment resolution noted that “prior to the joint session of Congress held on January 6, 2021, to count the votes of the electoral college, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by state or federal officials.
“Shortly before the joint session commenced, President Trump reiterated false claims to a crowd near the White House and willfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol.”
Mr. Zeldin has faced increase scrutiny over the past week and protesters gathered outside his Patchogue office Monday and a petition seeking his expulsion “for his act of sedition” has gained more than 2,200 signatures.
Mr. Zeldin was re-elected to a fourth term in November, defeating Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff.
Mr. Zeldin vowed on Twitter there was “not a chance” he would resign.