Republican Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina at a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 17, 2022.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
- Rep. Tom Rice blasted former President Trump’s attempts to sway voters in his GOP primary.
- Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over his role on January 6.
- “To me, his gross failure — his inexcusable failure — was when it started,” Rice told the NYT.
GOP Rep. Tom Rice, who was one of just 10 Republicans to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, is not backing down from his vote.
During an interview with The New York Times, Rice — who is seeking the GOP nomination for a sixth term in his conservative South Carolina congressional district — would not relent to the pressure of the former president calling him a “RINO,” meaning “Republican in name only,” or declaring that his career was finished because of his consequential vote.
Rice told the newspaper that he continued to reject Trump’s conduct on January 6.
“To me, his gross failure — his inexcusable failure — was when it started,” the congressman said of the insurrection.
He continued: “He watched it happen. He reveled in it. And he took no action to stop it. I think he had a duty to try to stop it, and he failed in that duty.”
Rice — who was a key player in the Republican tax overhaul championed by Trump in 2017 — then said that a 2024 presidential run by the former president would not be helpful to the party.
“He’s the past,” the congressman said of Trump. “I hope he doesn’t run again. And I think if he does run again, he hurts the Republican Party.”
He added: “We desperately need somebody who’s going to bring people together. And he is not that guy.”
Rice expressed frustration at Trump’s attempts to push GOP voters away from him in the primary race.
“Bring on the circus,” the congressman said. “You know, some people are afraid of clowns. I’m not afraid of clowns.”
During an interview on ABC News earlier this week, Rice said that his vote to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” was made in adherence to the Constitution.
“Defending the Constitution is a bedrock of the Republican platform, defend the Constitution, and that’s what I did,” he said. “That was the conservative vote. There’s no question in my mind.”
He emphasized: “I did it then, and I would do it again tomorrow.”