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Here’s what House members from Florida have to say about impeachment
Democrats and Republicans debate the impeachment of President Donald Trump ahead of the historic vote.
The U.S. Capitol building, center, and part of the Washington Monument, right, are seen at sunrise on Wednesday.
The U.S. Capitol building, center, and part of the Washington Monument, right, are seen at sunrise on Wednesday. [ JULIO CORTEZ | AP ]
Published Dec. 18, 2019|Updated Dec. 18, 2019

For hours, House Democrats and Republicans debated the impeachment of President Donald Trump ahead of the historic vote expected Wednesday night. They talked about facts and assumptions, the Bible and the Constitution, fairness and the impeachment process. All 14 Florida Republicans were expected to vote against impeachment and all 13 Florida Democrats were expected to vote for it. Trump would be the third president to be impeached, and the Senate is expected to conduct a trial in January to determine whether he should be removed from office.

Some excerpts from House members from Florida during Wednesday’s debate:

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa:

The president abused his power. He violated his oath of office. He sought to elevate himself as a dictator or a king, but we are not a monarchy. We are the United States of America. We are a republic, a democracy where the executive doesn’t have absolute power. America was founded on a system of checks and balances. When the president withheld military aid to vulnerable Ukraine and pressed for a personal “favor” to manufacture dirt against a political opponent, he went too far. He undermined America’s national security. He sought to sabotage our elections. He elevated his personal interests over the interests of America. Then he tried to cover up his scandalous behavior and he obstructed the investigation. The president violated his oath of office, but I intend to uphold mine to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. I will vote to impeach President Trump.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor:

It’s a darn shame that we find ourselves in this position today. Every time I step into this chamber, I’m humbled to be serving in the greatest legislative body in the history of the world. However, it’s deeply disappointing that the hyper-partisanship that has gripped this country has made its way into this chamber. I pride myself on being a consensus-builder who works across the aisle to get things done for the American people. But when it comes to the matter of impeachment, I have no doubt that the entire process has been politically motivated. There is absolutely no evidence that President Trump committed an impeachable offense, which is why I will vote no. This whole process has been a ploy to circumvent the will of the people by removing a duly-elected president of the United States. It is a national disgrace and sets a dangerous precedent. But we are a great nation and we will survive this indignity. Let’s put this ugly chapter behind us, and get to work.

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover:

If we’ve learned anything from the investigation so far, we know the majority does not think due process is necessary. They don’t even think basic fairness is necessary. A yes vote on this resolution today gives the stamp of approval to a process that has been damaged beyond all repair and a blatant and obvious coup to unseat a sitting president of the United States.

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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston:

I want my daughter to be able to tell their children that grandma did the right thing, because in America no one is above the law.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami:

As an immigrant, I still get chills because I feel so fortunate to live in this extraordinary country. The genius of American democracy lies in our Constitution and the dedication to the rule of law. I want my children and all of our children to feel the same way when they grow up. However, if we sit idly by as cracks begin to appear in our democratic institutions, our children will be in the same situation so many of us experienced.

Rep. John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville:

Somewhere in Russia right now, Putin is laughing at us today.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota:

I will vote today against both articles of impeachment because they are without merit and setting a dangerous precedent for our country. This political vendetta is an abuse of the impeachment process and would subvert the votes of 63 million Americans. Just because the president’s opponents are afraid he will win re-election is no excuse for weaponizing impeachment. No president in history has ever been impeached 10 months before an election. Elections are the heart of our democracy. Our founding fathers devised a simple way to remove a president if you disagree with them. It’s called an election. We have one coming up in less than a year. Let’s let the people decide this next November.

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