The state party leadership approved their official rebuke on Saturday. Rice was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump. (Image credit: Meg Kinnard/AP)
Published: 2021-01-30 07:26 pm
South Carolina GOP Censures Rep. Tom Rice Over Trump Impeachment Vote

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, pictured in 2019, was formally censured by South Carolina's Republican Party Saturday for his support of Trump's impeachment. Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans to join Democrats in voting to impeach.

Meg Kinnard/AP

South Carolina's Republican Party formally censured Rep. Tom Rice on Saturday over his vote earlier this month to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Rice, who represents South Carolina's 7th District, was one of 10 House Republicans who broke ranks and voted with Democrats to impeach.

The state's Republican party approved the rebuke at its quarterly meeting Saturday, more than two weeks after the Jan. 13 vote.

"We made our disappointment clear the night of the impeachment vote. Trying to impeach a president with a week left in his term, is never legitimate and is nothing more than a political kick on the way out the door," state party Chairman Drew McKissick said in a statement.

According to the state party, the move to censure Rice began in his district — which went heavily to Trump — before reaching South Carolina party leadership as a resolution.

"Congressman Rice's vote unfortunately played right into the Democrats' game, and the people in his district, and ultimately our State Executive Committee, wanted him to know they wholeheartedly disagree with his decision."

Rice has defended his impeachment vote multiple times, including earlier this week in an interview with a South Carolina NBC affiliate.

"The president stepped over a line. He violated the Constitution, that's why I did what I did," Rice told WMBF News on Wednesday.

State party sanctions in South Carolina are fairly uncommon, as The Associated Press notes, and included then-Gov. Mark Sanford in 2009 after he left the country to visit a lover in Argentina.

The move is largely symbolic, but it's possible it could affect Rice's electoral chances. Rice has represented South Carolina's 7th District since 2013.

Other Republicans who sided with Democrats in the Jan. 13 impeachment vote have caught flak from state Republican parties. The Wyoming Republican Party issued a statement chastising Rep. Liz Cheney shortly after her impeachment vote.

And one week ago, Arizona Republicans passed resolutions blasting several prominent party members who were at times at odds with the former president. The resolutions criticized former Sen. Jeff Flake, Gov. Doug Ducey and Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCain.

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