Florida’s Congressional delegation voted along party lines Thursday as the U.S. House of Representatives approved a formal impeachment process for President Donald Trump.
In approving House Resolution 660 in a 232-196 vote, all 14 Florida Republicans voted “no” and all 13 Florida Democrats voted “yes.”
Florida voters, meanwhile, are equally divided. According to a Siena/New York Times poll published Thursday, 49 percent of 600 voters surveyed support the inquiry but don’t necessary favor impeachment. In fact, 45 percent “strongly” oppose and 8 percent “somewhat” oppose impeaching Trump.
In the wake of the House vote, all 27 Florida representatives released strongly-worded statements, tweets and other comments in support and condemnation of the inquiry.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, in Fox News appearances and on Twitter, declared the inquiry is “a setup by the ‘deep state.’”
“The Dems have wanted to impeach @realDonaldTrump since before the ink was dry on his election certificate,” Gaetz tweeted. “This resolution was another attempt to legitimize a sham process that has been tainted since January 20, 2017. The American people see this for what it is. #ImpeachmentVote.”
“Today, the House voted on a set of rules and guidelines to govern the Democrats’ latest attempt to undo the 2016 presidential election, after a month of secret hearings in the basement of the Capitol,” said Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota.
“All Republicans stood together against the measure,” Steube continued. “This resolution is filled with egregious tactics that prevent the minority and President Trump from having any meaningful part ... and demonstrates to the American people this is nothing but an attempt to subvert the will of nearly 63 million voters. History will not look kindly on what was done today.”
“This vote is more political theatre, as Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats try to backtrack and validate the tainted process of their partisan witch hunt against President Trump,” said Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Panama City. “This ‘Soviet style justice’ is an insult to our democracy. This investigation would not stand up in any court in the United States and should not stand up in the House of Representatives.”
Florida Democrats were equally adamant that Trump’s actions justify the impeachment inquiry.
“America’s national security is paramount. Today, I voted to support the impeachment inquiry into the abuse of power of President Trump and to determine the extent of his wrongdoing,” said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. “Trump put his personal political interests above America’s national security interests, and he must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
Rep. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee, identified three allegations against Trump: Abuse of power, bribery and obstruction of justice.
“We have a constitutional duty to investigate these potential abuses of power. This is why I support the #impeachmentinquiry,” Soto tweeted.
“This resolution will ensure the process continues to be as open, fair and transparent as possible,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park. “Our focus must be on bringing all the facts to light and pursuing the truth for the American people.”
If there was a wildcard, it was Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican who has been one of few GOP representatives to express concerns about findings in hearings.
However, Rooney said Thursday, he does not approve how Democrats have conducted the probe.
“While today’s resolution opens the way the hearings will be conducted in many ways, which is an improvement, the process is still less open to having all sides represented than prior impeachments,” Rooney said. “A truly judicial process like deployed in the Nixon and Clinton cases would be the best solution to assure due process. As to the merits of the impeachment case itself, I have consistently kept an open mind and listened to the facts as presented – and will continue to do so.”
Florida’s Democratic Party blasted Republicans for voting against the inquiry while the Republican National Committee (RNC) specifically cited Florida Democrats in claiming those who voted for the resolution will regret it when they seek re-election.
“Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have conducted this investigation with the highest standards for the rule of law. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his Republican acolytes have conducted an obstruction and contempt for justice campaign.” Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said. “From barging into secure briefings, hiding behind executive privilege, to disregarding subpoenas, Trump and Republicans have proven why this impeachment investigation is needed.”
“Florida Democrats have sealed their fate,” the RNC said. “Democrats like Charlie Crist, Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Donna Shalala chose to side with Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and the socialist squad over their constituents, and have officially committed political malpractice. Americans will remember how these Democrats chose to pursue division and investigation over progress and promises.”