“Compared to the often raucous members of the state’s congressional delegation, Rice has been more low-profile and focused on his legislative work,” wrote the Almanac of American Politics of Rice, who has represented eastern South Carolina’s 7th district since 2012.
But Rice hadn’t made a mistake or accidentally pressed the wrong button. His vote to impeach was real — and without question, the most surprising of the 10 Republicans who bucked the President.
“Once the violence began, when the Capitol was under siege, when the Capitol Police were being beaten and killed, and when the Vice President and the Congress were being locked down, the President was watching and tweeted about the Vice President’s lack of courage.
“For hours while the riot continued, the President communicated only on Twitter and offered only weak requests for restraint …
“… It has been a week since so many were injured, the United States Capitol was ransacked, and six people were killed, including two police officers. Yet, the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences. Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were ‘perfectly appropriate.'”
The combination of Trump’s incitement of the crowd, his attacks on Vice President Mike Pence during the riot itself and his total lack of remorse over his role in the overrunning of the Capitol added up to be more than Rice could take. As he concluded his statement: “I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But this utter failure is inexcusable.”
A look back at Rice’s past comments on Trump, particularly in the wake of last week’s riots, provide some evidence that this move wasn’t entirely unexpected.
That’s not the typical quote from a politician. And as Rice showed with his vote on Wednesday, he’s no normal politician.