ST. JOSEPH — A third group of Southwest Michigan Republicans have taken umbrage with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
In a meeting Saturday afternoon, Feb. 13, the Berrien County Republican Committee approved a resolution to censure Upton.
“It’s difficult for us, because he’s our hometown congressman. We have a lot of people who have been friends of his for years,” Dennis Grosse, chairman of the Berrien County Republican Committee, told The Herald-Palladium on Feb. 13. “But we had to take stand. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to support him for however long he’s in office.”
The censure follows similar resolutions made by the Allegan County GOP on Jan. 21 and the Cass County GOP on Jan. 28.
Upton, of St. Joseph, was among 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment, charging the former president for his role in instigating the mob of Trump loyalists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and threatened lawmakers.
A censure is considered a symbolic act of disapproval.
The vote among Berrien County Republicans was done anonymously, but Grosse said the result was overwhelming.
“I know Fred prides himself on being part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is fine. But once in a while you have to talk a hard vote in what your constituents want,” Grosse said. “I appreciate he wants to be bipartisan, but this vote is particularly bad. We don’t believe the president was responsible for (the insurrection).”
The timing of the censure comes more than a month after Upton’s vote and as the Senate was moving toward a final verdict in the trial of the former president (Trump was acquitted with 57 Senators including 7 Republicans voting to convict and 43 Republicans voting against Cconviction – 67 votes were required for conviction).
In response to his home county’s censure vote, Upton reiterated his reasoning behind his impeachment vote.
“I always said I’d support President Trump when I agreed with him and disagree when I thought he was wrong,” Upton said in an emailed statement. “Congress should not tolerate any effort to impede the peaceful transfer of power. I’ve gone to bat for Southwest Michigan every day I’ve been in Congress, bringing jobs, economic growth, and opportunities to our region of the state. And that is exactly what I’m going to keep doing.”
In its censure resolution, the Berrien County GOP condemned the violence that occurred at the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6.
The Berrien County resolution described the insurrection as “disturbing” and called on those who committed the crimes to be “brought to justice.”
Subsequently, the censure highlighted the group’s opposition to the impeachment in the House and called on the Senate to dismiss the case.
“There were no hearings, no evidence presented, no due process, no fact finding of any kind. No witnesses were brought forward. While impeachment is a political process, we are a nation of laws,” the resolution stated. “...Further, the impeachment vote only served to further divide our country, and not bring about the unity that so many of us desperately seek.”
Upton, who is in his 18th term in Congress, won the 6th District by nearly 16 points over Democratic challenger Jon Hoadley in November.
The 6th District includes Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties, plus most of Allegan County.