Rice explains his surprise vote to impeach: 'This utter failure is inexcusable'

Rep. Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceLIVE COVERAGE: Tax hikes take center stage in Ways and Means markup Republicans hit Biden over Afghanistan, with eye on midterms Biden says deadly attack won't alter US evacuation mission in Afghanistan MORE (R- S.C.) explained his surprise vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE on Wednesday, calling Trump's behavior on the day the U.S. Capitol was breached  and in the week since “inexcusable.”

Rice was one of ten Republicans who joined Democrats in impeaching the President for inciting an insurrection.

Rice's vote turned heads, given that he indicated Monday that he was against impeachment, telling local news outlet WBTW, “let’s not stoke further division.” Rice also voted to overturn both Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes when the riot was over last week.

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However, in a statement on Wednesday, Rice ripped the president for his role in inciting the deadly riot that interrupted the certification of the Electoral College vote last Wednesday.   

“I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.

The South Carolina Republican said that any “reasonable person” could tell that that Trump’s speech last Wednesday before the breach of the U.S. Capitol had “potential for violence.” He also slammed the president for tweeting while the Capitol was under attack.

"I was on the floor of the House of Representatives when the rioters were beating on the door with tear gas, zip tie restraints, and pipe bombs in their possession,” Rice said. “It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol Police that the death toll was not much, much higher.”

Rice continued by noting that in the week since the attack, “the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences.”

“Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were 'perfectly appropriate,’” he wrote.

The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump on a charge that he incited last Wednesday. Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.