Forget Trump’s behavior — let’s focus on the GOP and America’s future

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Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) on my syndicated television show. He was one of 10 Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach former President Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Since that time, the former president has focused his frustration on calling out Rice and other Republican members — such as Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — for their votes to impeach. He named them during his remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Trump’s main goal in mentioning Republicans such as Rice and Cheney is to encourage voters to defeat them. I asked Rice why he decided to vote to impeach even though Trump was already out of office. Rice said that he believed the former president’s attempt to influence legislation through the spread of violence was a violation of the Constitution and, therefore, it could not go unpunished. He said he believes that people must be held accountable for what occurred at the Capitol.

Despite wanting to hold Trump accountable for bad behavior, Rice said he also wants the former president to help move the Republican Party forward. If Trump wants to put a target on him, so be it, he said, but the focus for Rice is on the future of the GOP and on moving the country forward, which I find to be honorable and notable.

We can debate whether Rice made the right decision, but he did so based on his principles. That’s what integrity is all about, and it’s what we should want from our political leaders. Unlike Democrats, many Republicans and conservatives who don’t espouse groupthink don’t believe  that everyone in the party must hold the exact same ideas to avoid excommunication. That’s what makes conservatives unique: We believe in the idea of individual thought.

Trump is a once-in-a-lifetime figure. You either like him as a politician or you don’t. I’ve interviewed dozens of people on both sides of the coin, including those who were in the former president’s crosshairs at one point or another. None of them remained humble or gracious enough to discuss the positives of the Trump presidency, despite their disagreements or the former president’s attacks on them. Yet that is what politics is supposed to be about: We can disagree on certain things but acknowledge and recognize the good that someone achieves.

Trump has an amazing opportunity to help move forward and unite all Republicans towards a common goal, much larger than any one individual. This should include the Republicans who voted to impeach him. I certainly understand his frustration but, at some point, we must all move on to the greater task at hand — that is, the future of our nation.

I can’t say whether Rice made a good or bad choice; it’s not a decision for me to make. I don’t know what was in his heart, but I do know that he appears to be a sincere public servant who cares deeply about the needs of the people he represents. He also cares about expanding and growing the Republican Party, which is something the GOP desperately needs now that the Democrats control the House, Senate and White House. 

It’s time for us all to come together as Americans, Christians and conservatives, to unite against and focus on the bigger battles that lie ahead.

Politics has become too personal; it no longer seems to be about the business of governance. That is demoralizing for many people and likely the reason that some Americans have simply tapped out of the process. I’m not sure if Trump, Rice or the other Republican members who voted to impeach him can ever get on the same page — even if they share similar conservative beliefs. And that’s okay, I suppose. What I do know is that it’s time to let bygones be bygones and work to expand conservatism as a philosophy to as many Americans as possible.

Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”

Tags conservatives Donald Trump Efforts to impeach Donald Trump Liz Cheney Presidency of Donald Trump Republican Party Tom Rice

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