How Arizona's Congressional Delegates Explained Their Impeachment Votes

President Donald speaking at a rally in Mesa in 2018.
President Donald speaking at a rally in Mesa in 2018. Jim Louvau
It's official: The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time.

This one's for inciting violence against the government at a rally in Washington, D.C. last week.

Ten Republicans joined House Democrats to vote in favor of impeachment, bringing the vote total to 232 in favor and 197 against. But Republican representatives from Arizona were not among those yes votes.

All four Republicans in Arizona's congressional delegation voted against impeachment, while the state's five Democratic representatives voted for it, making for a party-line split on the vote here in Arizona.

In statements explaining their votes, Republican Representatives Debbie Lesko (8th District – Surprise) and David Schweikert (6th District – Scottsdale) both cited the need for national unity and described the impeachment effort as divisive.

Lesko's statement didn't even mention last week's riot at the Capitol.

"At a time when our country desperately needs to move forward in pursuit of unity, it is deeply concerning that my Democratic colleagues have chosen to impeach a president with just seven days left in office. Additionally, the lack of deliberation on this impeachment is highly alarming," she said. "This move by the House is dangerous and has far reaching implications for the future of our nation.”

Similarly, Schweikert said that the impeachment proceedings "divides Congress even further."

"After the despicable events of January 6th, it is more important than ever that the United States Congress do the work of the people and direct our focus entirely on conquering the ongoing issues our great nation is facing. Today's vote fails to do that," he said. "It divides Congress even further at a time when we should be setting an example for the nation by showing we can put politics aside and put the country first. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to focus their time and effort on finding common ground, and working together to find real solutions to our nation's most pressing issues."

Notably, Schweikert joined his Republican colleagues in voting against impeachment after being the sole Arizona Republican to vote against an objection to the state's election results that was filed by his colleague, Republican Congressmen Paul Gosar (4th District – Prescott), last week on the day the Capitol was breached by the mob. (Schweikert did, however, vote in favor of the objection to Pennsylvania's election results.)

The other two Republican votes against impeachment, Congressmen Paul Gosar (4th District – Prescott) and Andy Biggs (5th District – Mesa) aren't surprising: The two men are some of the president's staunchest supporters in Congress. Congressmen Gosar has adamantly reiterated Trump's baseless claims that the election was stolen from him and expressed sympathy for the rioters at the Capitol on social media.

Democratic Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (3rd District – Yuma) criticized Republicans' calls for unity in a statement posted on Twitter.

"I will vote to impeach Trump for a second time because calls of ‘unity’ will not stop the treacherous situations Trump continues to encourage," he wrote. "Trump and his congressional enablers must be held accountable for the carnage and terror they released on our nation last week."

The impeachment vote sets up a trial in the Senate, but it is still unclear when the trial will begin.
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety