By Karli Barnett

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida lawmakers followed along party lines when it came to impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time on Wednesday for inciting a violent insurrection when he charged up a violent mob to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to stop Congress from counting presidential electoral ballots.

Those who voted in favor of impeachment were Democrats Alcee Hastings, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson. Those who voted against impeachment were Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar.

During the hearing Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida’s 23rd Congressional District spoke up in favor of impeachment.

“To overturn the 2020 presidential election, Trump incited a violent assault on Congress, a treasonous betrayal of our nation,” she said. “This criminal incitement left us with five dead, including a police officer, a desecrated capital, a second constitutional crisis. His acts show contempt for the rule of law, the constitution, and the foundation of any democracy, and a peaceful transition of power. President Trump is a clear and present danger to American lives and democracy. He leaves us no choice but to immediately remove him from office.”

Congressman Alcee Hastings, who voted remotely, released the following statement:

“Today’s vote to impeach Donald John Trump is a necessary step in protecting our democracy. Leading up to the January 6, 2021 insurrection, false allegations of voter fraud and unfair elections were widely spread by Trump and his administration to his base of supporters, conspiracy theorists, and extremists. Speaking at a rally a week ago as Congress convened to certify the results of the 2020 election, Trump told his supporters, “And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Immediately following his speech the U.S. Capitol was sieged by insurrectionist domestic terrorists. Lives were lost and people wounded.

“As we still struggle to navigate through this unspeakable experience that will go down as a stain on our nation’s history, we must find a path of healing with unity and defend our constitution. Trump’s actions have endangered the security of our nation, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government.  It’s abundantly clear that Trump is a threat to our democracy and must be held accountable for his actions.”

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who also voted remotely, issued this statement after voting to impeach:

“The U.S. House of Representatives today took the unprecedented but very necessary step of voting to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time in a little more than one year. This time, however, it was a bipartisan effort, thanks to a small contingency of Republican lawmakers who could no longer ignore the very real danger that Trump presents after he willfully incited an insurrection against the United States Capitol.

“In a desperate and last-ditch effort to overturn the results of the November election and disenfranchise millions of voters, particularly those who are black and brown, who handed him a resounding and unimpeachable defeat, our nation’s so-called commander-in-chief commandeered an angry and violent mob of primarily white supremacists to storm the Capitol to subvert what was meant to be a peaceful transfer of power. And as people around the globe watched in horror, the world’s most powerful nation was literally brought to its knees. Its most hallowed grounds of democracy were turned into gruesome crime scenes, complete with blood and defecation; graffiti; broken glass and doors; overturned furniture; scattered documents; and the residue of pepper spray, tear gas, and fire extinguishers.

“Mr. Trump was watching, too, but instead of sharing the outrage that everyone else was feeling, he surveyed the insurrection with glee, ignoring numerous pleas from members of his own party to call off the rioters and stop the madness. Some of my Republican colleagues have called the president’s actions a ‘lapse of judgement,’ which is ludicrous. They have argued that there is no point in impeaching someone who will leave office in a week. They are dead wrong.

“As a result of his hateful call to action, five lives were lost and many more were put at risk, including that of his own vice president, Mike Pence, who had to be whisked off of the House floor to safety. One man was spotted carrying plastic ties, which were reportedly meant to be used to strangle Pence, yet Trump’s only concern was for himself.

“If we do not hold him accountable for inciting insurrection and prevent him from holding federal elective office in the future, what we witnessed last week surely will happen again.

“Now it is Senate lawmakers’ turn to do the right thing by conducting an impeachment trial and convicting Donald Trump of his contemptible crime against democracy. And if they do not, they will be just as complicit as he is in the devastating loss of life and assault on the Capitol and our nation’s democratic principles. History will not judge them well.”

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U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch issued this statement:

“Impeachment is one of the most consequential powers afforded to Congress. It guards against a president who threatens our security, the continuity of our government, and the integrity of our democracy. The oath that I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States compels me to vote to impeach the president.

“We must hold President Trump accountable for his incendiary rhetoric that culminated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. For months he inflamed his supporters and proliferated baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election. He knew that his words had tremendous power, and he hoped that his lies would resonate.

“President Trump is unquestionably responsible for the violent riots in the Capitol building, the deaths of six Americans—including two police officers—and an attempt to stop the certification of the electoral college results.

“For inciting a violent and deadly insurrection, for instigating domestic terrorists even as they smashed their way into the Capitol building and called for the hanging of Vice President Pence and the death of Members of Congress, and for refusing to call off his mob as they occupied the most prominent symbol of American democracy in an attempt to overturn the results of the election, he must be impeached and removed from office.

“President Trump continues to pose a grave and imminent threat, even with just days remaining in his term. It is not enough to wait for him to leave office with the hope that he will not incite further insurrection and more death and destruction in Washington or cities across the country. Standing up to this reckless president, rejecting his dangerous rhetoric, and impeaching him under the constitution is necessary to protect our nation.

“The President incited insurrection. In response, the House exercised its power of impeachment to hold him accountable. I strongly urge the members of the U.S. Senate to fulfill their oath of office to defend the country against domestic threats by removing President Trump from office and barring him from ever holding federal office again.”

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart issued this statement:

“January 6, 2020, will forever be remembered as a dark day in our nation’s history. The violent mob that stormed the Capitol that day attacked our safety, our freedom, and our democracy. From the moment the attack occurred, I have emphatically condemned the violence. All those who took part in the barbaric acts must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. During this time of tension and division -when we should be focused on healing- Speaker Pelosi continues to push acts that further divide our nation. Impeaching the President exactly one week before his term is complete is unnecessarily divisive and unwise.

“President-elect Biden will be sworn in as President on January 20, 2020. I am committed to working with my colleagues and the incoming administration to reduce divisions in our nation and work on issues of importance to the American people.”

Congressman Carlos Gimenez issued the following statement after voting against articles of impeachment against President Trump: 

“The insurrection last week on Capitol Hill was unamerican and will be a stain on our history. Violence is never the answer to political disagreements. In America, we settle those disagreements through rigorous debate and acts of democracy. We are a nation of laws, justice, order, and process. What we saw last Wednesday was not a peaceful protest, but a planned attack of mob violence on our most sacred institution.  

While last week’s violence was abhorrent, impeachment is one of the most sacred powers a Member of Congress can exercise, and it cannot be taken lightly. Moving forward a flawed impeachment process undercuts Congress’ voice and our ability to represent our constituents, setting a dangerous precedent of voting on impeachment without proper committee investigation. The American people demand the facts, and they deserve to know what happened on January 6th. Additionally, the Senate has already indicated it would not move on impeachment until after President-elect Biden’s inauguration, rendering the need to rush this process futile, divisive and a political stunt. 

Voting for a rushed measure not only further divides our nation, it denies the American people a proper avenue to the facts. I welcome investigations into what happened through the regular process, where committees join to issue subpoenas, analyze testimonies under oath, and committee members have an opportunity to ask questions and cross-examine witnesses. We must learn how these domestic terrorists breached security, what can be done to prevent this kind of violence in the future, and what role any potential perpetrator may have played in the incitement of sedition and unnecessary deaths of Americans. That process must be played out, and the case must be made, in front of the American people and not through a series of 5-minute soundbites on cable television. I am confident we can reach the truth and begin to fully heal as a nation without tearing apart our laws, our norms, and our Constitution. 

President-Elect Biden won this election fairly. He will become the 46th President of the United States and we must unite around him for the good of our country. I welcome him as our president and vow to earnestly work with and engage with the incoming administration to ensure we deliver results for South Florida.”

Ten Republicans total voted to impeach, and none were from Florida. All Florida Democrats voted in favor of impeachment.

Karli Barnett