The head of the McLean County Republican Party says Democrats should have focused more on unifying the country in President Donald Trump's final days in office, rather than pursing a second impeachment.
County GOP Chair Connie Beard disputes claims that Trump's rhetoric led to last week's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“Based on the firsthand testimony of the people who were there listening to the presentation, there was not an intent on his part to have the result that ended up with a small minority acting the way they did,” Beard said.
Beard noted about 60 Republicans and Trump supporters from McLean County attended Trump’s "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 that preceded the riots.
Trump told his supporters at the event, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” and repeated disproven claims of massive voter fraud in the election.
Beard said Republicans are being unfairly tarnished by the violent actions of a select few.
“There continues to be an effort to take that small group that created that violence and let them be the poster child for the Republican Party and I think that’s a sad disservice,” she said.
The U.S House voted Wednesday 232 to 197 to make Trump the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Ten Republicans, including Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, joined Democrats in backing impeachment.
It’s not clear when a trial in the U.S. Senate will start as Trump’s time in office ends in one week.
Beard called it a “sad commentary” that Democrats have focused their attention on impeachment instead of trying to heal the country and help it economically.
“They’ve decided to pursue an avenue that they’ve never given up,” Beard said. “For four years, they’ve tried to impeach President Trump and how sad it is they are trying to end the season in the same manner,”
Beard also maintains there are still questions about voter fraud in the election that Joe Biden won.
Judges, many of whom were nominated by Republicans or Trump himself, have repeatedly said there's no evidence of voter fraud that would have impacted the election. Many of them castigated Trump’s legal team for not presenting a legitimate case.
Beard acknowledged judges were following the law when tossing out these cases. She said the scope of the lawsuits were narrow.
Davis, LaHood vote 'no'
Two other central Illinois Republicans, congressmen Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Darin LaHood of Peoria, both voted against impeachment.
Davis said he wants to see “accountability for leaders who deliberately misled the public,” but he wants an investigation into what happened in the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot.
“Process matters. A snap impeachment conducted without a full investigation, or without due process for the president, accomplishes nothing,” Davis said in a statement.
LaHood said he also wants to see a full investigation, but said Congress should instead focus on healing a divided country.
“We should use this time to bring our nation together, heal the partisan divisions, and move forward with a peaceful transition of power,” LaHood said in a statement.
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