Members such as U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde of Athens said it was unfair to hold Trump responsible for what happened at the Capitol last week.
“This course of action will only increase dissent and disunity across our country, and it flies in the face of all efforts to heal our nation,” Clyde said. “Quite simply, it is a shameful final act of political retribution — retribution that this president has weathered since day one.”
The House brought a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” against Trump. But the document also mentioned the president’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, describing it as threatening and an effort to pressure election officials to overturn Biden’s victory.
The Senate is unlikely to begin its impeachment trial before Jan. 20, when Biden will be sworn in. Still, if two-thirds of senators vote to convict Trump, they can also take measures to prevent him from ever running for public office again.
Even with Georgia U.S. Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock being sworn in by then, 17 Republicans would need to side with Democrats to bring action against Trump.
The Georgia Republicans who spoke during Wednesday’s debate said the impeachment and ensuing trial will only further divide the nation.
“With so many upset and dismayed at the actions last week, it is our responsibility to find ways to heal our country,” said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter of Pooler. “Unfortunately, I don’t believe this resolution will achieve those goals, especially seven days ahead of the inauguration.”
Still, Democrats from Georgia and beyond were unified in supporting the measure. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Lithonia characterized it as a test of character and invoked the memory of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the Atlanta civil rights icon who died in July.
“I’m certain that every member of Congress would say if they had been in Congress when John Lewis walked across that Edmund Pettus Bridge and the Civil Rights Act was passed that they would have stood on the right side of history,” Johnson said, addressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Well, Madam Speaker, today we’re going to see exactly what side of history you all are going to be on.”
U.S. Rep. David Scott spoke about the impeachment as an urgent matter to save American democracy.
“Let me make everybody aware that on those sun-bleached bones of history of many great nations are written those pathetic words, ‘Too late,’ ” the Atlanta Democrat said, speaking slowly and deliberately. “They moved too late to save their great nations. Let us not this day move too late to save our great nation.”
HOW THEY VOTED ON H. RES. 24
“Yes” on impeachment:
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia
U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta
“No” on impeachment:
U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler
U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens
U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton