Nearly 140 Republican members of the House of Representatives voted against certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election win, and now a lone member of that group has come forward to say he regrets it. “In retrospect, I should have voted to certify,” Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) told Politico on Wednesday. “Because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.”
Rice said that he believed the former president was responsible for the insurrection because Trump watched “with pride” as his supporters flooded the Capitol and “did nothing to stop it.” But, he explained, because he had publicly said he would object to the certification, he felt obligated to go through with his vote.
“In the wee hours of that disgraceful night, while waiting for the Capitol of our great country to be secured, I knew I should vote to certify,” Rice said. “But because I had made a public announcement of my intent to object, I did not want to go back on my word. So yeah, I regret my vote to object.”
As the attack unfolded and lawmakers were fleeing for their lives on Jan. 6, Trump angrily posted on social media that former Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution,” meaning Pence refused to take measures to stop the election certification in order to keep Trump in power.
“There was a coward in that equation,” Rice told Politico. “But it wasn’t Mike Pence.”
Rice is not a blind Trump loyalist, although he has bragged that he voted with him 94 percent of the time Trump was in office. After the insurrection, Rice voted to impeach Trump for his role in instigating the attack, as did nine other House Republicans. Rice’s vote got him formally censured by the South Carolina GOP.
Trump said in a statement in November that he would back Republican candidates seeking to oust Rice from his seat. “Any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots to run primary campaigns against” a list of GOP House members, including Rice. “Saving America starts by saving the GOP from RINOs, sellouts, and known losers!” the former president said.