U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania’s only Republican member of Congress from the Philadelphia region, voted against impeaching President Donald Trump Wednesday for inciting last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.
Ten of the 211 House Republicans joined Democrats in the vote, which made Trump the first president in American history to be impeached twice.
All eight other House Republicans from Pennsylvania — who last week voted to throw out the state’s election results — also voted against impeachment. Fitzpatrick had broken from them in voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania.
After the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in a riot that left five people dead, Fitzpatrick denounced the insurrection as “nothing short of a coup attempt.” On Tuesday, Fitzpatrick and six other House Republicans introduced a resolution to formally censure Trump “for trying to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and violating his oath of office.”
“President Trump’s actions, behavior, and language are unacceptable and unbecoming of the office he holds,” Fitzpatrick said Tuesday.
But a statement released by his office argued against impeachment, saying it would “almost certainly result” in Trump’s second acquittal in the Senate, and therefore “further divide and inflame tensions in our nation.”
The statement added that “forcing a time-consuming and divisive trial in the Senate” would also “undermine President-elect Biden’s ability to govern effectively at the beginning and most critical time of his presidency.”
House Democrats declined to vote on the censure resolution, however, and Fitzpatrick’s statement didn’t explicitly say he would vote against impeaching Trump.
His office didn’t respond to a request for an interview Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick, a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent who once supervised a political corruption squad, represents Pennsylvania’s 1st District, which encompasses Bucks County and a slice of Montgomery County.
In 2019, Fitzpatrick joined every House Republican in voting against impeachment articles Democrats brought against Trump over the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to smear Biden.
During his reelection campaign last year, Fitzpatrick highlighted his record as the most bipartisan member of the House, as measured in rankings compiled by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
Before that, he survived the Democratic wave in the 2018 midterm elections that delivered the party control of the House and wiped out suburban Republicans across the country.
Early in Trump’s presidency, Fitzpatrick broke with the GOP by opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He voted in favor of the party’s tax cuts..
Democrats have been trying to win the Bucks County seat for a decade — the district was previously represented by Fitzpatrick’s late brother, Mike — and it remains to be seen how the impeachment vote might factor into next year’s midterm elections.