Tom Rice: This member of the Republican House of Representatives preferred the constitution to Donald Trump


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After all, Rice had cast a decidedly conservative – and pro-Trump – figure in Washington since his election to the 7th district in eastern South Carolina in 2012. (Rice was one of 139 members of the Republican House of Representatives who opposed the January 6th electoral college results) Reis didn’t say much about his vote in the immediate aftermath. But in a great Washington Post profile of him that ran earlier this week, Rice put it clearly:

“I knew I took an oath to defend the Constitution. I didn’t take an oath to defend Donald Trump. What he did was a frontal attack on the Constitution.”

What, well.

There is little debate that Trump not only instigated the mob that violently rioted in the Capitol, but stood by in silence for hours after it became clear that the situation had gotten out of hand and people were injured. (Five people died in the riot and more than 100 police officers were wounded.)

What is surprising is that Rice is one of only 10 Republicans – the vast majority of whom describe themselves as “constitutional conservatives” – who are ready to stand up for this constitution when faced with Trump’s outright attack on it.

Rice’s comments are a reminder that harshly condemning Trump for what happened on Jan. 6 should not be a partisan act. Both Republican and Democratic Congressmen were at risk when the violent rioters ran through the US Capitol. The insurgents shouted “Hang Mike Pence,” the Republican Vice President of the United States.

Actively undermining a free and fair election and then inciting a mob trying to disrupt the certification of the electoral college is simply a dangerous act for our democracy.

That it was done by a Republican president with considerable loyalty among the GOP base should be irrelevant to the calculations of the party’s elected officials.

“Should” is the key word there, of course. Aside from a handful of principled opponents like Rice, the rest of the Republican Party followed Trump’s behavior out of selfish concern for their own political careers.

The point: Rice could lose his seat in a primary next year to a candidate willing to blindly support Trump at any time. Which shows you exactly where the Republican Party is right now.

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