It’s official: The House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump. Following a weeks-long investigation into the president’s dealings in Ukraine, in which Trump allegedly pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals, the House officially voted Wednesday evening in favor of two articles of impeachment, making Trump the third president in U.S. history to be officially impeached. As widely expected, the vote was largely divided along party lines, with a vote of 230-197 on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, and a vote of 229-198 on the second article, obstruction of Congress. “December 18, a great day for the Constitution. A sad one for America, that the President’s reckless activities necessitated our having to introduce articles of impeachment,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference following the vote. “I view this day, this vote, as something that we did to honor the vision of our founders to establish a republic, the sacrifice of the men and women in uniform to defend our democracy and that republic, and the aspirations of our children that they will always live in a democracy.”
The impeachment vote followed hours of debate in the House, as Democrats defended the constitutional need to impeach Trump while Republicans railed against what they viewed as a sham process (and compared Trump to Jesus in the process). “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something,” Rep. John Lewis said on the House floor. “Our children and their children will ask us, ’What did you do? What did you say?’ For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”
Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican party over his support of Trump’s impeachment, vehemently defended impeachment on the House floor before voting in favor of both articles. “I come to this floor not as a Democrat, not as a Republican but as an American who cares deeply about the Constitution, the rule of law and the rights of the people under our system of government,” Amash, now an Independent, said during the House debate. “[Trump’s] actions reflect precisely the type of conduct the Framers of the Constitution intended to remedy through the power of impeachment, and it is our duty to impeach him.” Beyond Amash, only a few politicians—all Democrats—were willing to cross party lines with their impeachment votes: Reps. Jeff Van Drew (who will soon become a Republican) and Collin Peterson voted against abuse of power, while Van Drew, Peterson, and Rep. Jared Golden voted against obstruction of Congress. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination but has also gained support from the MAGA crowd, voted “present” on both articles, rather than yea or nay, after previously raising the idea of censuring Trump as an alternative to impeachment.
Trump, meanwhile, spent what was objectively the worst evening of his presidency onstage at a rally in Michigan, where he predictably decried what he described early Wednesday as an “ASSAULT ON AMERICA.” In a characteristically divergent rant, Trump slammed impeachment as a “political suicide march for the Democratic party” while maintaining his innocence, claiming that “this is the first impeachment where there’s no crime.” The president also appeared delighted upon learning that no Republicans had flipped on impeachment, while three Democrats had crossed over to support him. “The Republican party has never been so affronted but they’ve never been so united as they are right now,” Trump said. Despite reports that Trump views impeachment as a “personal humiliation,” Trump appeared at least publicly unfazed by the historic act taken against him, describing his impeachment as “impeachment-lite.” “With Richard Nixon, I just see it as a very dark era … [but] I don’t know about you, but I’m having a good time, it’s crazy,” Trump said. “I’m not worried.”