Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko said Tuesday he’ll back the impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying it was his his duty under the Constitution after Trump incited the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection, both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day,” the former federal prosecutor representing central New York said in a statement. Katko said Trump’s claims that the election had been stolen created “a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement and division.”
Katko, who was among hundreds of members of Congress locked down for hours while rioters invaded the Capitol on Wednesday, said he didn’t take his decision to impeach lightly.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” he said. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action.”
Two other Republicans, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, also said Tuesday that they’ll join House Democrats who have signed onto an impeachment resolution expected to go to a vote Wednesday.
Katko, who was elected to a fourth term in November, has tried to cultivate an independent brand to reflect the nature of the 24th Congressional District, where Democrats narrowly outnumber Republicans. But he also endorsed Trump’s reelection bid after declining to do so in 2016.