Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, heard Thursday from constituents — some angry, others delighted — at a virtual town hall about his vote in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump.
Gonzalez, one of the 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump, said that what pushed him firmly into the impeachment camp was Trump's hours-long delay in moving to put a stop to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. He spoke to NBC News ahead of the town hall to explain his position.
A number of callers to the town hall were upset with Gonzalez, saying they thought Trump was treated unfairly or that the entire effort amounted to "a set up." Another constituent did not believe President Joe Biden had won the election.
Debbie, one of the questioners announced on the call, said she thought people should "just let (Trump) go and forget about it" rather than pursue a second impeachment.
"Behavior isn't really written into the Constitution," she said. "And that's what you say you impeach(ed) Trump for."
Another woman, Peggy, asked Gonzalez why he decided to join a small group of Republicans in favor of impeachment while most fellow GOP members and voters were against it.
"I don't think the real ballot would've been 10 (backing impeachment) if there was a secret ballot," Gonzalez said of his Republican peers. "I think it'd be pretty close to 50/50."
Others praised Gonzalez for the vote.
One woman, who identified herself as a lifelong Republican until the Trump era, said she wanted to thank Gonzalez "for your courage to stick up and defend our Constitution."
"If that is not an impeachable offense, then nothing is," she said of Trump's conduct. "I feel good that you're there. Even though I haven't been very happy with Republicans now."
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Linda, a Republican for more than 50 years, said she was "so pleased" with his vote.
"You are the kind of statesman our country needs," she said, adding, "I think our country is going to be better for it. I think our party is going to be better for it."
Pointing to misinformation and "outright lies" spread about the election, Gonzalez said politicians have a responsibility "to tell you the truth and be honest with you."
"We just have to keep voting," he said. "And we will get the change that we want."
In explaining his vote, Gonzalez said: "The behavior warranted an impeachment."