WASHINGTON — Rep. Elise M. Stefanik has loyally stood by President Donald J. Trump since the Capitol riots a week ago. This week, she continued her support for him by voting against two separate measures — one on impeachment and another to support invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr. Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” Legislators in support of impeachment have said President Trump incited the mob that broke into the Capitol building during the ceremonial counting of the states’ electoral votes on Jan. 6.
The measure carried in the House 232 to 197, with all Democrats voting to impeach and ten Republicans crossing the aisle. Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, voted against impeachment.
In a statement sent after her vote, Rep. Stefanik said she was “vehemently opposed” to the “snap impeachment,” arguing it has no constitutional basis.
“The Democrats’ decision to impeach the President with one week remaining in his term further fuels the divisions in the country during this very trying time,” she said. “As members of the United States Congress, we should focus on unifying our country by delivering solutions to the American people.”
The articles of impeachment must now be sent to the Senate, where a trial will take place, with House impeachment managers arguing the case and Senators serving as the jury. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not call the Senate back to session before Jan. 19, making it unlikely the process will conclude before Mr. Trump leaves office.
Wednesday’s vote was the second opportunity for members of Congress to issue a vote on the president’s fitness for office. On Tuesday night, the House voted to pass a resolution requesting Vice President Michael R. Pence begin the process to remove President Trump from office via the 25th Amendment.
The vote split largely down party lines, with all but one Republican voting against the measure.
In a statement sent after she voted no, Rep. Stefanik explained she believes the resolution was a divisive one, and Congress should focus on unifying the nation.
“This political resolution sets a very dangerous Constitutional precedent and further divides our country,” she said in a prepared statement. “I believe we should focus on ensuring a safe transfer of power on January 20.”
A growing number of lawmakers on either side of the aisle have called for the president to be removed from office because of his claimed role in inciting the mob that broke into the Capitol building on Jan. 6. While some have supported calling for the president’s resignation or impeaching him a second time, others saw the 25th Amendment, which lays out a process by which a president can be removed from office by his Cabinet and vice president, as a viable option.
Despite a letter from Vice President Pence earlier Tuesday indicating he would not use the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, the House of Representatives moved to pass the resolution anyway. The lone Republican voting to pass the resolution was Rep. Adam D Kinzinger, R-Il.