Voting to impeach former President Donald Trump was the “conservative” thing to do, Rep. Tom Rice said Sunday, even though it might cost him dearly in South Carolina’s 2022 Republican primary.
“Defending the Constitution is a bedrock of the Republican platform, defend the Constitution, and that’s what I did. That was the conservative vote,” Rice (R-S.C.) said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” adding: “There’s no question in my mind.”
Trump was impeached in 2021 in response to his actions, and inactions, related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Rice said he was appalled to see Trump not lift a finger in response to the attacks on the Capitol and its police officers, as well as the threats to Vice President Mike Pence.
“It was clear to me what I had to. I was livid. I am livid today about it. I took an oath to protect the Constitution,” said Rice, who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. “I did it then, and I would do it again tomorrow.”
Rice is facing multiple primary challengers in South Carolina’s 7th District on June 14. Among them is State Rep. Russell Fry, whom Trump has endorsed. “And now Tom Rice looks like a total fool,” Trump said in a campaign appearance in South Carolina.
The five-term Republican found that amusing, particularly since he had often supported Trump’s policies during his presidency.
“If I am a disaster and a total fool, and I voted with him 169 or however many times, what does that make him, right? I’m taking his lead,” Rice told ABC’s Jonathan Karl.
Rice said there’s only one way he would consider voting for Trump for president again.
“If he came out and said: I’m sorry I made a huge mistake on January 6th,” Rice said, “then I might consider it.”