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A compilation of reactions from Florida politicians to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump

The impeachment trial is expected to begin in January in the Senate.

President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday night, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The historic vote split along party lines, much the way it has divided the nation, over the charges that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. Then a majority of the House approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation.

Here is a compilation of reactions from Florida politicians to the impeachment of President Trump:

U.S. Rick Scott:

“The House Democrats just spent a month confirming that the President did nothing wrong and that this impeachment circus is nothing but partisan politics. Today’s vote solidifies how little the Democrats care about what’s really important to the American people. It’s clear all they care about are political games. This is sad and embarrassing, but I came to Washington to get something done for the American people. I look forward to getting back to working on all the things that aren’t getting done, like passing No Budget, No Pay, securing the border, and lowering drug prices for American families.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach:

“This isn’t about Ukraine. It’s about power. Donald Trump has it — and the Democrats want it. With no crime, no victim, no evidence, no proof, and no agenda for America, this impeachment charade has followed no rules, and adheres to no sense of honor. The American people aren’t fooled by dirty tricks. Americans will never forget that Democrats have been triggered into impeaching the President — simply because they don’t like him… and they don’t like us.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho of Gainesville:

“In March of this year, Speaker Pelosi said the following, “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” The past three months have been anything but bipartisan. Speaker Pelosi and her Democrats have pushed through a flawed, partisan crusade to remove President Trump from office. In truth, the efforts to remove the President began in January 2017.  So tonight, we are faced with a vote to impeach- eleven months before the American people decided for themselves who the next president will be.

“Forget about facts and fairness, the efforts of House Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees already had their minds made up as they rushed the process. After the Mueller report came up blank, there was a need to find something, anything, to pin on the President. Or, as Rep. Al Green said on May 6, 2019, “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.” This whole process has felt predetermined.

“The impeachment of a sitting president for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ is something we should take very seriously. President George Washington warned the Republic over 200 years ago about political parties using impeachment for political gain by saying, “However, political parties, may now and then answer popular ends,[but] they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”

“I agree that no one is above the law. However, under the articles of impeachment that were laid before us tonight, I feel there was no evidence to impeach President Trump. Today is a day that will live in infamy as a stain on our Republic. Speaker Pelosi along with rank and file Democrats divided our nation over partisan hatred of a duly elected President. Today is a regrettable day. Now, the Senate will decide. May God guide our Republic.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz of St. Augustine Beach:

“I’m a Green Beret and a proud veteran – but this process does not make me proud. I’ve fought all over the world – from Africa to Afghanistan – and seen fairer and more transparent processes than this. Since Democrats lost the election in 2016, they’ve been focused on impeaching this President.

“Meanwhile, we have not solved the problems America entrusted us to solve, [like] immigration, healthcare [and] infrastructure. Nothing in President Trump’s call rises to the levels of high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Rockledge:

“This is a sad day for America. We know this impeachment is a sham. They [Democrats] knew this impeachment is a sham. They know we know this impeachment is a sham. and they know that most of the American people know that this impeachment is a shameless sham.”

Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville:

“President Putin and his cronies have been Russia have been waging war on our elections with the goal of sewing discord and division in America. Do you think it has been successful?

“Somewhere in Russia right now Putin is laughing at us today. The majority has given him exactly what he wants: a divided America with pure partisan politics, with nasty rhetoric at an all-time high. And some already across the aisle are discrediting the results of future elections. Already! It seems to Americans that for the past three years the House majority has been carrying out the wishes of the Kremlin.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando:

“We have people who have no respect for the law, people who have little regard the rules, people who spend a lot of their time trying to figure out how to game the system. Law enforcement officers call them habitual offenders. And the more they get away with, the more likely they are to engage in misconduct.

“The laws mean nothing if the accused can destroy evidence, stop witnesses from testifying and blatantly refuse to cooperate. I know the President said that he can get away with anything he wants to. I came to tell you that, no, he cannot.

“Because no one is above the law and he shall be held accountable.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster of Clermont:

“To quote Professor Jonathan Turley, ‘a paucity of evidence, but an abundance of anger’ has driven this impeachment against President Trump. None of the witnesses or evidence confirmed Democrats’ allegations of quid pro quo, bribery, or extortion. The Articles of Impeachment exposes the bad faith of House Democrats.

“Blinded by their hatred of a duly-elected President, House Democrats are ignoring the facts and the role of the judicial branch in Article III of the U.S. Constitution. The constitution specifically empowers our federal courts to serve as the umpire in disputes between the legislative and executive branches.

“This impeachment and today’s vote are not about facts or the constitution, it is about overturning and blocking the will of American voters.”

Democratic U.S. Rep Darren Soto of Kissimmee:

”With a duty to our country, our constitution and my oath of office, I voted in favor of the articles of impeachment today. The decision to impeach President Trump is a serious one. Up until this moment, I have spent countless hours assessing evidence, going through witness testimony and reading through both Democrat and Republican reports. After careful consideration, it became categorically clear that President Trump abused his power and obstructed justice through actions I deem as impeachable conduct.

“I join several of my colleagues in saying that I did not come to Congress to impeach the President of the United States. On the contrary, I voted against impeachment on several prior occasions. My primary mission is and remains to represent my constituents, fight for the needs of the American people and fully meet my oath of office.

“My allegiance has always been to the American people, not the oval office. Today I resolutely uphold my constitutional duty to defend our democracy, secure our republic and protect the people of this great country.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Tarpon Springs:

“I pride myself on being a consensus builder who works across the aisle, but when it comes to the matter of impeachment I have no doubt that the process has been politically motivated. There’s absolutely no evidence that President Trump committed an impeachable offense.

“This whole process has been a ploy to circumvent the will of the people by removing a duly elected president of the United States. It is a national disgrace and sets a dangerous precedent. Let’s put this ugly chapter behind us and get to work.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa:

“The president abused his power. He violated his oath of office. He sought to elevate himself as a dictator or a king, but we are not a monarchy. We are the United States of America. We are a republic, a democracy where the executive doesn’t have absolute power,” Castor said. “America was founded on a system of checks and balances. When the president withheld military aid to vulnerable Ukraine and pressed for a personal ‘favor’ to manufacture dirt against a political opponent, he went too far.

“He elevated his personal interests over the interests of America. Then he tried to cover up his scandalous behavior and he obstructed the investigation. The president violated his oath of office, but I intend to uphold mine to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Ross Spano of Dover:

“Today, I voted against the impeachment of President Trump because it is clear that this impeachment is fueled by hearsay and partisan motive, not fact. The transcript of the call showed no conditions were placed on U.S aid to Ukraine, Presidents Trump and Zelensky have said there was no pressure, and Ukraine received their aid without taking any actions.

“The articles of impeachment allege President Trump abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress, but the only abuse of power I’ve seen is from the House Majority.

“The Majority has failed to deliver for the American people. They failed to pass a budget on time, failed to pass the spending bills on time, and have failed to deliver bipartisan policies that will help improve the lives of Americans. Instead, they have spent the past 12 months fishing for something, anything, to undo the 2016 Presidential Election.

“It’s time for this nightmare to end and for us to move forward. We are here to serve the American people, and we need to get back to putting them first.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key:

“Just because the President’s opponents are afraid he will win reelection is no excuse for weaponizing impeachment.

“No president in history has ever been impeached 10 months before an election. Elections are the heart of our democracy. Our founding fathers devised a simple way to remove a president that you disagree with — it’s called an election — and we have one coming up in less than a year. Let the people decide.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota:

“Tonight, I voted no on the Articles of Impeachment for President Donald J. Trump. This impeachment charade was riddled with procedural failures, denials of due process, and partisan games. The facts are clear, the president has not committed an impeachable offense, and certainly not a high crime or misdemeanor as the Democrats allege.

“I urge the Senate to quickly evaluate the lack of evidence and acquit the president, so we can all focus on improving the lives of Americans instead of further dividing our nation.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast of Palm Bay:

“From the start, this has not been about justice. It has been a pursuit of injustice, rooted in hatred of the President and disdain for the voters who elected him. From the very first minute that President Trump was sworn into office, Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress were so determined to override the results of the election that they would have impeached President Trump for leaving the toilet seat up.

“This is a disgraceful day for our country, and I couldn’t be more opposed to this shameful attempt to circumvent the will of the American people.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney of Naples:

“I’m concerned about this becoming more of a political process than a process destined to find justice and truth. Impeachment is so heavy of a situation for the country; there should be a more exhaustive process than what we are doing.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach:

“The President of the United States abused his power by withholding critical foreign assistance for his own personal political benefit and then stopping witnesses from talking to Congress during a lawful investigation.

“His actions threatened our national security and undermined our elections. In a republic, no person is above the law. One day I will tell my grandson that I stood up for our democracy.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton:

“I have an obligation to uphold my oath of office to the Constitution. I’ve sat through hours of testimony from fact witnesses, read through hundreds of pages of evidence and legal analysis, and consulted with constitutional scholars to determine whether President Trump’s abuses of power amount to impeachable offenses. I have also heard from thousands of constituents.

“I do not take my vote lightly; this vote on impeachment is one of the most serious votes I will ever cast. But when the President abused his power to solicit foreign interference in our election, when he put his personal and political interests above our national interest, he was cheating the American voters before they even had a chance to vote in the 2020 election. And the President’s obstruction of the United States Congress is unprecedented in our nation’s history.

“American presidential power comes from the people through elections. The Constitution requires that Congress protect those elections.

“Impeachment is the remedy provided by our Constitution for grave moments like today. I voted to impeach President Trump because his abuse of power and obstruction of Congress forced this action to protect our elections, our democracy, and our Constitution.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston:

“With his conduct around Ukraine, President Trump corruptly abused his power for his own interests at direct odds with our national welfare and our constitution. This president put his interests before those of this nation. Left unchecked he’d do it again and has said so. The actions and ongoing schemes that led us to this moment are severe threats to our national security and democracy that we cannot defend or dismiss.

“With history watching, I must fulfill my constitutional duty and vote to impeach this president. His corrupt conduct and assault on our constitution leave no other choice.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Miami:

“This President, who was elected by the American people, has violated his oath of office and violated the rule of law. The evidence is overwhelming that he withheld military aid approved by Congress and leveraged a White House meeting to extract a political favor from a foreign government. The president actively sought foreign election interference to benefit himself.

“I want my children and all of our children to feel the same way when they grow up. However, if we sit idly by as cracks begin to appear in our democratic institutions, our children will be in the same situation like so many of us experienced when we left countries whose leaders destroyed democracy.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala of Miami:

“Despite the unprecedented obstruction from the president, the evidence, in this case, is powerful enough that to delay this vote any further would risk interference in the 2020 election and the permanent erosion of our system of checks and balances.

This is not a matter of politics. This is about protecting the integrity of our democracy for the next generation. As we labor to pass on to future generations many of the great hallmarks of our society, we must also work with active stewardship and vigilance to pass on a vibrant and functional democracy. If we don’t do our duty to protect the Constitution, the republic that we hand our children will be less vibrant.

“If we don’t do our duty to protect the Constitution, the republic will be less resilient and less effective.

“Those who vote ‘yes’ on today’s articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt, for as long as they serve in Congress — which won’t be long, because Americans will remember in November.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson of Tallahassee:

“It is with no small measure of regret that Congress was forced to impeach the President of the United States. His continued abuse of power compelled us to take action and hold him accountable. The Senate should approach this with the seriousness it deserves and consistent with their oath. We have faced difficult times in the past, and today is no different. While this is a somber moment in our nation’s history, I am hopeful that all of us — Democrats and Republicans — can begin to heal the divide across our country.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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