South Carolina GOP censures Rep. Rice for impeachment vote

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Rep. Tom Rice...

Source: Bill Clark / Getty

The South Carolina GOP on Saturday issued a formal censure to U.S. Rep. Tom Rice over his vote to support the impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Rice represents S.C.’s 7th District that encompasses the northeastern portion of the state from the border of North Carolina, south of Charlotte to Myrtle Beach, which is roughly about 800,000 people. An area where 96 percent of people voted in-favor of Trump.

He told the Associated Press “it hurts my heart” to have gone against the president, but he decided to back impeachment after seeing what he characterized as Trump’s inaction during the Capitol Hill riot.

Rice was among ten Republican representatives who joined Democrats to impeach Trump for his role in the violence a earlier at the U.S. Capitol. A Senate trial is expected to start next week.

In his only primary since first elected in 2012, Rice won with 84% of the vote. He’s been reelected each time with at least 56% of votes cast. Now, Rice is expected to face at least a handful of primary challengers after the vote. Rice told the AP he knew he’d likely face a difficult primary and that the impeachment vote could potentially cost him his seat: “If it does, it does,” he said.

Dreama Perdue, the Republican chairwoman in Rice’s home county of Horry, said she has heard from hundreds of people in the district who’re angry with Rice.

“The people in the district are just very, very upset that Congressman Rice would do this, knowing how much we support the president in South Carolina, and in the 7th District, and in Horry County,” Dreama Perdue told the AP.

“He told me he voted his conscience. These people did not vote for you to vote your conscience; these people voted for you to support us and our district and the president.”

Trump faces his second impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate next week. The former president replaced his legal team of five attorneys from the Carolinas after a disagreement about the approach prior to trial in response to the single charge of “incitement of insurrection.” He’s the only president in history to face impeachment twice while in office.