Iowa freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Wednesday said "there are other ways to hold the president accountable" for last week's deadly "rampage" at the U.S. Capitol besides impeachment.
"As horrific and devastating as the rampage on the Capitol was on Jan. 6, President Trump has conceded. He has committed to a peaceful and orderly transition of power on Jan. 20," Miller-Meeks said Wednesday morning, speaking on a news radio program on WMT-AM in Cedar Rapids, as the U.S. House for a second time deliberated impeaching President Donald Trump.
Miller-Meeks reiterated on Wednesday that impeaching Trump a week shy of the end of his term would "only further divide the nation and make it more difficult for President-elect Joe Biden to unify and lead our nation."
Miller-Meeks joined fellow U.S. House Republicans Tuesday who voted against a resolution that passed the Democratically-controlled U.S. House calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and strip Trump of his duties. Pence has said he will not invoke the 25th Amendment, setting the stage for the impeachment vote Wednesday.
Only one Republican, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted in favor of the resolution.
Asked whether Trump needs to be held accountable for inciting last week's mob violence, Miller-Meeks said "there are (other) ways to hold the president accountable," stating House Republicans had offered "some of those ways in the rules yesterday and those were defeated," including a measure censuring Trump for his role in stoking last week’s violent riots at the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Censuring Trump would essentially amount to a formal reprimand or denouncement by Congress. The resolution resolves that Congress "publicly states that President Donald J. Trump has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law” and "censures and condemns President Donald J. Trump for trying to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and violating his oath of office on January 6, 2021."
House Democrats have panned censuring Trump as a slap on the wrist for committing an impeachable offense by "willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States."
Trump, in his first public appearance since the Capitol siege expressed no contrition for inciting the mob, telling reporters on Tuesday that his remarks to supporters had been "totally appropriate," and that it was the specter of his impeachment that was “causing tremendous anger."
Trump's fiery speech at a rally just before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol is at the center of the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread for months about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.
Miller-Meeks in an interview with the Quad-City Times last week, while recognizing Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect and voting to reject a challenge to Biden's Electoral College victory, insisted "there was fraud" in the 2020 presidential election, despite a series of reviews and court cases that found no evidence of widespread issues.
"I think in order to listen to people and to heal our nation — to answer those grievances — that there should be either an investigation or a commission to look into that," she said. "There was fraud. There were irregularities. There were states that did not follow their state law, and/or election officials violated state law. I think all of those things are worthwhile to address so that everyone has faith and confidence and trust in the election system."
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
"The actions were horrific, but I also think you need to look at constitutional provisions for free speech, for due process," Miller-Meeks said Wednesday. "What's the precedent that this would set?"
Just as Congress lacks the constitutional authority to block states' Electoral College votes, "Congress shouldn't be inserting itself in choosing a president," Miller-Meeks said.
"All of those who propelled violence, who broke into the Capitol, who committed crimes — those individuals should be held accountable as well," she said. "And I think now there are well over 100 arrests."
Miller-Meeks said the impeachment proceedings delays Congress from "getting on to the work of helping Iowans and helping Americans," including focusing on expanding access to high-speed broadband internet, passing an infrastructure bill, delivering COVID-19 vaccines and lowering prescription drug prices.
"There are a lot of things that we can do in a bipartisan manner in order to move our country and our state forward," Miller-Meeks said.
The Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to Miller-Meeks' comments.
“First she said there was ‘plenty of blame to go around,’ now Mariannette Miller-Meeks is defending the violent insurrectionist mob that killed five Americans — including a Capitol Police officer. In choosing domestic terrorists over our democracy, Miller-Meeks has shown that she has neither the leadership ability nor character for the office she was provisionally seated to hold,” said IDP spokesperson Mandy McClure.