Rep. Michael Waltz was troubled enough by the Capitol siege to drop his own objections to Joe Biden’s election win. But he won’t sign on to an effort to impeach Donald Trump.
The St. Augustine Republican issued a strong statement slamming Democratic plans to fast-track a second round of impeachment articles.
“I condemn the latest calls from Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Democrats to pursue impeaching President Trump just days before we peacefully transition,” Waltz said. “The President himself has publicly expressed his intent for an orderly transition and Democrats should not be throwing gasoline on the fire rather than lowering the temperature of political discord.”
Waltz notably had been a vocal proponent of challenging several slates of electors for battleground states won by Biden. But after rioters invaded the Capitol during a pro forma session certifying the election results, Waltz changed course and voted against any challenge. He said at the time he had seen legal objections as an example of how America settles disputes through legal mechanisms, not violent uprisings.
But he seemed to conclude after riots broke out that the objections in fact fueled unrest about the presidential election results.
“With today’s despicable display of violence and intimidation on Capitol Hill we must move on to ensure a peaceful transfer of power and certify the presidential election,” he said Wednesday.
Congress certified Biden’s win in the electoral college with a 306-232 tally
As Democrats pursue ways to force Trump out of office before his term ends on Jan. 20, Waltz worries the course of action will similarly reignite passions.
“While foreign adversaries are relishing Wednesday’s turmoil, we must maintain stability and unity to prevent an opportunistic response from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea or Venezuela. I have long said strength is the best deterrence, and exasperating turmoil with impeachment sends the opposite message and creates serious vulnerabilities,” he said.
“President-elect Biden has repeatedly pledged to unite the country. He can make good on that pledge by asking Democratic leaders to stand down from this political stunt. Our country is already badly divided and impeaching the president will only further entrench the nation.”