The ten Republican lawmakers who joined House Democrats in voting to impeach US President Donald Trump have reportedly been receiving death threats from Trump supporters livid over their abandonment of the president following last week’s Capitol insurrection.
The Daily Beast reported Thursday that the ten lawmakers — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York, Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Peter Meijer and Fred Upton of Michigan, David Valadao of California and Tom Rice of South Carolina — have seen their social media flooded with chilling messages and warnings that their days in Washington would be numbered.
Meijer told NBC News on Thursday that the threats started coming in immediately after the Wednesday impeachment vote and that he and his fellow GOP mavericks had put in requests to received armed security details.
“Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make,” Meijer said.
“It’s sad we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.”
“He won’t last until the primary,” read one post on the Facebook page of the South Carolina GOP, referring to Rice. “This is an attempted insurrection. Tribunals coming,” the person added.
Another comment on the same thread included Rice’s personal phone number.
Cheney, the most senior lawmaker to vote against Trump, was not spared in the social media anger from the president’s supporters. She was called “lizard,” a “Judas” and “Deep State Scum” on her Facebook page, with one comment reading “GUANTANAMO FOR CHENEY & PELOSI !!”
Colorado Democrat Jason Crow told MSNBC on Wednesday that after conversations with his Republican colleagues he recognized that “the majority of them are paralyzed with fear.’
Trump is grappling with the fallout from the riot he incited in Washington last week by egging on a huge crowd of supporters to march against Congress. The mob rampaged through the Capitol building, leaving five people dead.
He was charged in the House of Representatives Wednesday for inciting insurrection, becoming the first US president to be impeached twice.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Trump had planned to join his followers on their march to the Capitol but decided not to after Secret Service agents warned him multiple times they could not keep him safe if he went.
The president watched some of the impeachment proceedings on TV and was angered by the Republicans who have come out in favor of the move, Reuters reported.
Trump is fearful of legal exposure once he leaves office and is focused on issuing pardons before his term ends, including possibly for himself, the report said.
Trump’s impeachment trial could begin on Inauguration Day, depending on when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate. Democrats hoping to avoid interrupting Biden’s inauguration have suggested holding back until the new president has a chance to get his administration going.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is open to considering impeachment, having told associates he is done with Trump, but he has not signaled how he would vote.
Biden has said the Senate should be able to split its time and do both — hold the trial and start working on his priorities.
The ten Republicans in the House fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Biden’s inauguration. The 232-197 vote for impeachment was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in modern times, more so than against Bill Clinton in 1998.
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit.
No president has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans have said that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president. Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.