Impeachment reaction: What Florida members of Congress said about Pelosi’s announcement

Democrats and Republicans respond to the House’s actions against Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to address the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to address the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. [ MARY ALTAFFER | AP ]
Published Sept. 24, 2019|Updated Sept. 25, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday the House of Representatives will launch an official impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Few times in history has Congress taken such a grave step. However, Pelosi said it was necessary to hold the president accountable amid reports that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine and pressured the country’s president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a political rival.

“This is a breach of his constitutional responsibilities,” Pelosi said in an address aimed beyond the room of reporters to the entire nation. She added: “The actions to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution.”

READ MORE: PolitiFact: How would an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump work?

What we know, what we don’t about Trump’s Ukraine call, a whistleblower and the Bidens

Florida members of Congress were swift to react. Others had been responding all day to Trump’s actions, both the mounting reports coming from news outlets and the president’s own admissions to the media and on Twitter. Here’s what they said so far.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican

Earlier Tuesday, Rubio told reporters, "I don’t think (Trump) should’ve have done it,” meaning pressure the Ukranian president to investigate Biden. But he added: "that’s a far cry from what some people around here are claiming to know as fact that frankly we don’t know as fact. He then said the word “impeachment” has “lost all meaning.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Republican

Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach

Neal Dunn, R-Panama City

“Speaker Pelosi has finally laid her cards on the table with the opening of a baseless impeachment inquiry. For once she is being honest about the Democrats’ agenda of taking down President Trump at all costs. For months the House has repeatedly voted on do-nothing bills solely to target the president – accomplishing nothing of substance – instead of tackling the issues that are facing hardworking Americans."

Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville

“The Democrat left has been trying to nullify the 2016 Presidential election from day one. The Mueller report came up empty, so they have decided to waste the rest of the calendar year on a political witch hunt to shore-up Speaker Pelosi’s left flank.”

John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville

Awaiting public statements

Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee

Michael Waltz, R-St. Augustine

“The decision to launch an investigation before learning the entire set of facts and hearing from the Director of National Intelligence is reckless. This is clearly politically-motivated and I am incredibly disappointed. The radical left has truly lost sight of the good of the American people. To put it in perspective, five House committee chairmen are currently involved in some sort of investigative inquiry against the President. That’s five committees that could be solving problems like the rising cost of healthcare, the crisis at our Southern Border and our pressing national security issues. It’s clear the Democrats are here to investigate, not legislate – and the American people deserve better.”

Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park

Bill Posey, R-Rockledge

Awaiting public statements

Darren Soto, D-Orlando

Val Demings, D-Orlando

Daniel Webster, R-Clermont

"Democrats found President Trump worthy of impeachment on November 9, 2016. However, they have not been able to produce any facts or evidence. Not even the Mueller Report. I have always let facts and evidence guide my decision making.”

Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor

Awaiting public statements

Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg

“Today, I join the People of Florida’s 13th Congressional District in calling for the House to launch formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump. I do not reach this conclusion lightly. The urgency of accountability is laid bare by the President’s ongoing willingness to abuse the immense power of the Office of the United States President. Someone who believes there is nothing wrong with soliciting foreign interference in American elections – again – can cause unthinkable harm to our national security, our country, and our Constitution during the remaining 15 months of his term in office."

Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

“Withholding foreign aid to Ukraine in an attempt to encourage interference in the next U.S. presidential election is a breach of the public trust. And blocking a U.S. intelligence complaint labeled ‘urgent concern’, filed with the independent inspector general and flagged to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is against the law. Trump has violated his oath of office. He operates for himself, in his personal interest – and not in the interest of the American people. The impeachment inquiry should be put on the fast track and all of the facts made plain. My GOP colleagues are inexplicably silent in the face of the damage to the country emanating out of the White House.”

Ross Spano, R-Dover

“The latest calls for impeachment are nothing more than a distraction from important issues like strengthening our economy and helping our nation’s veterans. We should be focused on bettering the lives of hardworking Americans. September is suicide awareness month and we have lost over 6,000 veterans per year from 2008 to 2017. As the month comes to a close, rather than pass bills to help expand efforts to address veteran suicide, the Speaker is devoting the House’s time to launching this investigation. How many times are we going to have to go through this? First it was the Mueller report. Now, after President Trump authorized the release of the transcript of his call with Ukraine’s president, which led to the whistleblower complaint, the Democrats are launching the impeachment process ahead of seeing the full transcript. Enough is enough. The Democrats are playing politics and I am still not supporting their efforts to take down the President.”

Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota

Spokeswoman Sally Dionne: “We agree with the President’s decision to release the complete transcript of his phone conversation with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky of Ukraine.”

Greg Steube, R-Sarasota

“For months we’ve heard from the left time and time again pursuing impeachment and ongoing investigations—to no apparent end. Today, they made their formal announcement. Before the facts are even know, Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and the Squad, are jumping to conclusions and starting impeachment proceedings. Democrats failed to find anything to impeach the President within the Mueller Report, but will stop at nothing to undermine President Trump and try and impeach him. The President has said he will release the transcript of the call. If it is as he says it is, then it will vindicate him and hopefully we can move on and actually do things to make the lives of Floridians better."

Brian Mast, R-Palm City

“Personally, I think this a partisan farce. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats decided they were going to impeach the President before they even knew what was said on the call. But now I’m a member of a committee that is tasked with doing investigation on this. I take my work seriously, and I’m not going to fall into the same partisan trap that the Democrats did by going out there and litigating this in the media before even one ounce of fact finding occurs.”

Francis Rooney, R-Naples

Awaiting public statements

Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar

“This continued insistence on undermining our democracy must be met with the full force and strength possessed by the United States Congress as set forth by our founding fathers in the Constitution, up to and including, Articles of Impeachment.”

Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach

“It is obvious that President Trump knows no boundaries when advancing his own personal interests. The latest allegations that the President pressured the President of Ukraine to investigate a political opponent and is blocking a whistleblower’s complaint detailing those actions, if true, represent a clear abuse of power and impeachable offense. The American people deserve the truth. I join all those calling for impeachment proceedings.”

Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton

“The Judiciary Committee has been conducting an impeachment inquiry since March. It is time to finish the job. Americans have now seen with their own eyes the depth of this President’s wrongdoing. Sadly, almost every elected Republican has remained silent in the face of the President’s corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power.

“It is time to complete our investigation and draft articles of impeachment.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston

“New and mounting evidence indicates that he has obstructed justice, leveraged foreign aid to target political enemies, illegally blocked a whistleblower from Congress, and invited external interference into our elections. Each one, alone, constitutes a grave abuse of power. Together, I fear that our Rule of Law and Constitution will not survive such open hostility from this, or any future President.

"This President’s reckless and habitual disregard for our laws leaves Congress no choice. Impeachment inquiry hearings must commence immediately. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of our democracy.”

Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens

Awaiting public statements

Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami-Dade and Monroe counties

“I have long been concerned about this Administration’s obstruction of Congress’ ability to perform its oversight duty. This President has engaged in behavior that we have not seen, nor would we have allowed, from the other 44 men who have occupied that office. These new revelations are outrageous. I’m encouraged more of my colleagues are joining me in recognizing how much his actions are imperiling our democracy. In order to avoid a true constitutional crisis, it is imperative that Congress take swift action. We cannot sit idly by while this President keeps the American people in the dark about his obstruction of justice, his use of the power of the U.S. government to undermine democratic processes, and his attempts to have foreign interference in our elections.”

Donna Shalala, D-Coral Gables

Awaiting public statements