Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, was one of four Republican members of Congress who did not vote Wednesday as the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump for a second time.
With Wednesday’s historic 232-197 vote, Trump became the first president ever to be impeached twice by the House. Unlike Trump’s first impeachment, 10 House Republicans voted Wednesday with Democrats to send an article of impeachment to the U.S. Senate for a trial.
Harris, an anesthesiologist, said in a Wednesday tweet that he was in the operating room caring for patients, but would have voted against impeaching Trump.
“Today, I spent my time caring for patients in our district during this pandemic. The Speaker’s divisive, hastily called, and politically motivated snap impeachment is a waste of time when we will swear in President-elect Biden in fewer than seven days’ time.
“In light of his calls for unity and healing, I call on the President-elect to disavow this action. Engaging in a political impeachment that will be moot in one week was another waste of time brought to you by the Democrat majority.
“While I certainly would have voted against impeachment, and the Congressional Record will reflect that, my constituents were better served by my work in the operating room today than by taking part in this pointless exercise.”
A number of Maryland lawmakers apparently feel the First District and the state would be better served if Harris is out of office entirely.
On Monday, 71 of 141 state delegates and 13 of 47 state senators signed a letter calling on Harris to resign for his support of objections to the electoral college results in Arizona and Pennsylvania and his lack of decorum on the House floor after a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol and killed a police officer.
Although Harris, in his tweet, argues impeaching Trump “will be moot” by Jan. 20 when Joe Biden is sworn in as president, many legal and constitutional experts note that a conviction in the U.S. Senate could carry consequences beyond removal from office.
If Trump is convicted, the Senate also could hold a separate vote to make Trump ineligible for holding any federal office in the future, which would put an end to his apparent plan to run again for president in 2024.
For the Senate to convict someone in an impeachment requires a tw0-thirds supermajority vote and the Senate previously has ruled that removal from office is automatic upon conviction and does not require a separate vote.
The Senate also has determined that disqualifying a person convicted in an impeachment proceeding is a separate vote that may be decided by a simple majority.