A South Carolina congressman who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory now says he regrets doing so and blames former President Donald Trump for inciting the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 Burning of Washington.
Representative Tom Rice was of one of 10 House Republicans who voted for Mr Trump’s second impeachment just one week after a mob of the former president’s supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying Mr Biden’s electoral college win, and the only one of those 10 who had voted against certification after the 6 January insurrection had been put down.
In an interview with Politico, Representative Rice said he still believes the 2020 election had “real issues” and maintained that he voted against certification because he did not want to be seen as flip-flopping after having promised to do so in the days prior to the attack.
“In the wee hours of that disgraceful night, while waiting for the Capitol of our great country to be secured, I knew I should vote to certify. But because I had made a public announcement of my intent to object, I did not want to go back on my word,” he recalled, adding later: “So yeah, I regret my vote to object.”
“In retrospect I should have voted to certify because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol,” he said.
Since he left office in January, Mr Trump has continued to lie about the conduct of the 2020 election, which multiple officials from his own administration have called the most secure in US history. The twice-impeached ex-president is in the midst of a campaign of lies meant to whitewash the violent insurrection undertaken by his supporters, many of whom claimed to be acting at his behest in interviews with federal law enforcement.
Although the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol left three of his supporters dead and hundreds of police officers with injuries inflicted by flying projectiles, improvised weapons, and chemical munitions wielded by the marauding Trump supporters, Mr Trump has claimed that what occurred that day was a “completely unarmed protest” and has directed his associates to stonewall the congressional inquiry into the attack.
Mr Rice, who is facing a pack of rabidly pro-Trump primary challengers who hope Palmetto State voters will punish him for voting to impeach Mr Trump in January, said the former president “did nothing” to intervene as the Capitol was “sacked and defaced” by his supporters, and watched “with pride” as then-Vice President Mike Pence was forced to seek shelter from a mob calling for him to be hanged from a gibbet.
“There was a coward in that equation but it wasn’t Mike Pence,” he said.
A House select committee established to investigate the attack has interviewed more than 300 witnesses and issued subpoenas to more than 50 persons connected with the events of that day, many of whom served in the Trump administration or worked on Mr Trump’s unsuccessful reelection campaign.
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