Denton County’s representative in Congress voted against the second impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point, stood with Texas’ other GOP House members in voting against the article of impeachment brought in the wake of the insurrection at Capitol Hill widely documented on Jan. 6.
The impeachment eventually passed the House with a 232-197 vote. All Democrats and 10 Republicans voted in favor of the article.
Burgess, during a meeting of the Rules Committee on Tuesday, said he was worried what precedent might be set by moving forward with an impeachment so quickly.
“Since impeachment is such an infrequent — or, historically, has been such an infrequent activity — every decision this body makes is going to affect subsequent discussions of this activity throughout the course of history,” he said Tuesday.
That appeared to be his chief concern based upon comments made in that committee before the article of impeachment was brought to the House floor on Wednesday.
Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., spoke after Burgess and responded to his concerns.
“I think all the evidence we need to see we saw on Jan. 6; the whole world saw it,” McGovern said. “... We talk about precedent: What is the precedent we’re setting if we just turn a blind eye, we walk away from this? Maybe people have short memories. I was here Wednesday. I was in the [House] chamber.”
Burgess left the Capitol to return to his office shortly before rioters ratcheted up their attack on Capitol Hill.
In a statement released Wednesday, Burgess compared Democrats’ use of impeachment to “a political chess piece” and said the Founding Fathers didn’t intend for it to be used in this manner.
“The rioters who stormed the Capitol were wrong and should be held accountable, but it is time for America to heal,” Burgess wrote.
He referred to President Abraham Lincoln and quoted him several times throughout the statement as he called for unity. In his statement, the congressman framed impeachment and national unity as mutually exclusive but achievable.
A Burgess spokesperson said the congressman was not available for an interview by phone Wednesday, and they did not answer a list of questions submitted via email by Wednesday evening.