May 12, 2022

Morning Joe had a fascinating look at a very conservative South Carolina congressman who is being attacked by Trump because he voted for Trump's impeachment.

"Republican Congressman Tom Rice seeking a sixth term in office made a debate last Thursday about why the country needs accountability when it comes to January 6th," Willie Geist said.

"Rice was one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach then-president Donald Trump following the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. That vote has earned him Trump's condemnation and a lost list of challengers trying to unseat him. Rice defended his decision and called out the hypocrisy of his own party's leadership."

RICE: Democracy is a fragile thing. And the one thing that we have to protect us from tyranny is our Constitution. Our Constitution has to be protected at all costs. Our framers, to protect us against tyranny, set up a separation of powers, where the legislature makes laws but can't enforce them. The executive enforces laws but can't make them. And the judiciary decides disputes. They wanted us, they charged us in the Federalist Papers, each branch, with jealously protecting their powers. because they knew that men were corrupt. If they had too much power concentrated in one place, that corruption would overwhelm them.

My friends, I was there on January 6th. I wasn't absent. I was there. I saw the bomb squads diffusing bombs. I smell the tear gas. I was on the House floor when the glass was breaking. They were getting broken and pulled from the lines. When we got to the spot we were evacuated, Fox News was on TV. I was getting calls from back here, from friends at the news. As I was talking to the news media back here, I was saying, 'Where is the president? Where is the president? Where is the president?' but he never came on.

I knew he was going to come on and say the violence has got to stop, but he didn't for four hours. Later, I asked my staff to pull the records on what he was doing at that time. He was sitting in his dining room next to the Oval Office, proud that these people were ransacking the capitol, beating up the Capitol police officers, he did nothing to stop it. In fact, 20 minutes after they were in the Capitol, he tweeted out, 'Mike Pence doesn't have courage.' My friends, you can argue about whether his speech that morning was inciting or not, but, to me, that one tweet was incitement.

If they'd have gotten ahold of Mike Pence, we could have lost our democracy that day. So if -- in my opinion, my opinion is that our Constitution is too precious to risk. The one difference between me and all those leaders back in Washington who said, 'Oh, Donald Trump went too far. He should be impeached. He should be removed' and voted the other way. I took the principled stand and I defended our Constitution.

"There you have it, John Heilemann. So Congressman Tom Rice voted with Donald Trump almost all the time," Geist said.

"He was, you know, a Trump supporter and Republican who voted the way you'd expect him to. He took one vote that Donald Trump didn't like, and that was to impeach him because he led an attack on the United States Capitol. For that, Donald Trump is now in the state. He's calling Rice a 'bad person, a fool, an atrocious RINO' was the term he used about him. Now he's got challengers because he dared to say that what happened on January 6th was bad.

"This will be a good test case."

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