Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) recalled House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) being caught off guard when the South Carolina Republican voted to impeach former President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in a Washington Post report published Sunday.
Shortly after voting to impeach Trump a week after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Rice rushed off the House floor to catch a flight back to his home in Myrtle Beach.
Scalise, however, wanted a word with Rice before he could scurry away from the chamber.
Rice told the Post that Scalise’s staffers called him up and insisted that the South Carolina Republican had “hit the wrong button.” Rice quickly denied that was the case.
“I didn’t get to the bottom of the steps before Scalise called me and he said, ‘Tom, you hit the wrong button’ and I said, ‘No, it was the right vote.’ Then he said, ‘You sure?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Rice told the Post. “I think a lot of people were surprised.”
Although he was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump during the then-President’s second impeachment trial, Rice did help push the big lie of a stolen presidential election. Prior to his impeachment vote, the South Carolina Republican voted to challenge Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Pennsylvania and Arizona during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6. Rice also threw his support behind Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) unsuccessful lawsuit that attempted to overturn swing states’ votes for Biden.
According to the Post, Rice said he does believe Biden won the presidency and decried Trump’s falsehoods of a stolen election. During campaign stops in his state last week, the South Carolina Republican played a video of conservative attorney Lin Wood, a Trump ally who emerged as a prominent pusher of the big lie, telling supporters that the military could still call on Trump “for the code if they need a first strike” while espousing bogus claims that Trump is still the President.
“That stuff is insanity. That’s just crazy as hell,” Rice said in Conway, South Carolina during an event where he was not pressed on Trump or his votes, according to the Post. “Once the vote to certify is done, that is it. It’s over. The election is over. Joe Biden won, period. That’s it. There is no constitutional mechanism to say, ‘Oh, we’re going to reinstate a president.’”