Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), who was among the 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach former President Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” on Sunday made clear that he does not regret his vote even as he faces backlash within his party ahead of his bid for re-election in the South Carolina GOP primary.
The primary next week follows the state GOP’s vote to censure Rice after his vote to impeach Trump last year. Rice is among the GOP lawmakers Trump vowed vengeance against in light of their impeachment votes, following the deadly Capitol insurrection amid the then-President’s fruitless attempts to subvert the 2020 presidential election results.
Appearing on ABC News, Rice said his impeachment vote was not a “hard” decision, citing Trump’s inaction throughout most of Jan. 6 even after his then-Vice President Mike Pence’s life was endangered. Rice pointed to the crowd of Trump supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence” at the Capitol as the insurrection unfolded.
“When (Trump) watched the Capitol Police officers being beaten for three or four hours and lifted not one finger to stop it. The more I read about that, the more I learned about — it was clear to me what I had to do,” Rice said.
Rice said he is still “livid” about the events that unfolded on Jan. 6.
“I’m livid today about it,” Rice said. “Now, I took an oath to protect the Constitution and I did it then and I would do it again tomorrow.”
Rice said “the only way” he “might consider” supporting Trump is if the former president apologized for his “huge mistake” on Jan. 6.
Rice argued that if Trump were to launch another presidential bid, it would “hurt” the GOP.
Asked about Trump deriding him as a “total fool” during a recent appearance in his district, Rice said he voted with Trump 169 out of 190 times.
Rice argued that his vote to impeach Trump was ultimately the “conservative vote.”
“Defending the Constitution is a bedrock of the Republican platform, right? Defend the Constitution,” Rice said. “And that’s what I did. That was the conservative vote.”
Rice ended the interview by reiterating that he does not regret his impeachment vote even if he ends up losing the GOP primary.
“It will be worth it,” Rice said. “Absolutely.”
“I’ll wear it like a badge. So be it,” Rice added.
Watch Rice’s remarks below: