MADISON, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, who had not said prior to Wednesday what he would do, sided with fellow Democrats and voted to impeach Republican President Donald Trump.
Kind was the only member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation not to say how they would vote prior to Wednesday. He joined Wisconsin’s two other Democrats, Rep. Mark Pocan, of Black Earth, and Rep. Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee, in voting for both articles of impeachment.
Unlike Kind, both Moore and Pocan represent districts that are heavily Democratic.
Kind, in a statement after the vote, said it was clear Trump’s actions were a “flagrant abuse of constitutional power” that jeopardized national security.
“My vote today was not about the president himself — more importantly, it was about defending the rule of law, our Constitution, and what signal we send future presidents of what is acceptable behavior,” Kind said.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Carly Atchison said Kind’s vote “destroys any chance he has for reelection.”
Republicans Jim Sensenbrenner, Bryan Steil, Glenn Grothman and Mike Gallagher all voted against impeachment. Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, which covers most of northern and western Wisconsin, is vacant after Republican Rep. Sean Duffy stepped down in September. Duffy was a strong Trump supporter.
Kind, from La Crosse, represents a western Wisconsin district that Trump won in 2016 by 4 points, the narrowest margin of any congressional district in the state. Trump won Wisconsin by less than a point.
Kind is the only member of Congress who voted to authorize the House investigation of both Trump and then-President Bill Clinton in 1998. Kind voted against impeachment of Clinton. Sensenbrenner, the only other current member of Wisconsin’s delegation in Congress at the time, voted to impeach.
While Kind had not said which way he would vote, he was supportive of the inquiry and has been publicly critical of Trump’s conduct that led to the impeachment investigation.
Trump became only the third American president to be formally charged with impeachment. The vote split along party lines over the charges that Trump abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House impeached him on a charge that he then obstructed Congress in its investigation.
The articles of impeachment now go to the Senate for trial.
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