Reactions locally to Wednesday's U.S. House vote to impeach President Donald Trump on a charge of "incitement of insurrection" fell mostly along party lines.
All of the area's U.S. House members voted Wednesday against impeachment, which was approved by a vote of 232-197, again mostly along party lines.
The vote came a week after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent attack that resulted in at least five deaths. House Democrats, who were leading the impeachment effort, accused Trump of urging his supporters to take action last week against the certification of the electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.
In a statement, Rep. Jake LaTurner, who won election in November to the Kansas 2nd District seat in the U.S. House, said: “The focus should be on bringing the criminals that broke into the Capitol to justice and conducting a bipartisan investigation into the security breakdown. Instead, Democrats are choosing to ram through a divisive impeachment while simultaneously mobilizing big tech to silence and demonize conservatives. The Electoral College has spoken; it is time for our country to turn the page. There will be a peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20 when President-elect Biden is sworn in, just as our nation has always done since our founding."
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, of Missouri's 4th District, issued the following statement: “The forced removal of the president with less than a week remaining in his term is a political theater that the nation can do without. America is struggling to come together following the riots and violence at the Capitol, and this friction will grow worse because of Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s political vendetta. The nation should not be subjected to more animosity simply because Speaker Pelosi seeks to settle a score. I will not be supporting her efforts."
In a video posted to Twitter shortly after Wednesday's vote, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, of Oklahoma's 2nd District, said: "This doesn't help us move forward as a country. ... What happened Jan. 6 is going to be written in history books that our kids and grandkids are going to read about. It's a dark day and a dark mark on American history — and that's the example we want to set? And now what we're doing this week in Congress, this is really what we want to do because we want to blame somebody? Really, we all need to have some self-reflection."
The office of U.S. Rep. Billy Long, of Missouri's 7th District, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
The Globe reached out Wednesday to several local Republican officials, including state Sen. Bill White, of Joplin; state Reps. Bob Bromley, of Carl Junction, and Cody Smith, of Carthage; and the chairs of Republican committees in Jasper and Newton counties. None could be reached for comment.
State Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin, said the House's action didn't appear to help the country's mood.
"My first reaction was just frustration," Roberts said. "I think the country is heartsick over all this and is ready to move on. The nation needs to heal, and I'm not sure how today's action leads to unity."
Roberts, a former Joplin police chief, drew upon his experience as a police officer to keep from assigning blame prematurely.
"I can suspect all kinds of things, but I don't arrest people unless I can prove it," Roberts said. "Here, we have more of what I'd consider drawing logical conclusions, but that's still a fair distance from proven facts. I have my own feelings about this situation, but I've learned to subordinate my opinion to facts, and that's how I approach this."
Nanda Nunnelly, chairwoman of the McDonald County Democratic Party Central Committee and president of the Minnie Hackney Community Service Center in Joplin, said she was “filled with profound sadness” that the House had to take this action.
“We are looking at the fact that this was something that had to be done, so I take absolutely no joy or celebratory anything in this,” she said. “As I watched it, I do believe the same thing was felt by many members of the House.”
Nunnelly said the words of two representatives — Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, and Cori Bush, a Democrat from Missouri — struck her as she watched the debate on the House floor. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was among 10 Republicans who voted to support the impeachment. Bush, a first-term representative from St. Louis and the first Black woman to represent Missouri in the U.S. House, used her speech to call for action against white supremacy.
Bush's push, Nunnelly said, for accountability over the events of last week was especially important.
“She was right to the point and absolutely true in saying this president has to be held accountable,” Nunnelly said. “When people talk about wanting to move forward in unity and for the good of the country, I truly believe this is what is needed for the good of the country, as sad and as difficult as it is.”
Krista Stark, director of Southwest Missouri Democrats, said her group supported the House vote.
"We are in favor of the president being impeached for helping to foment a coup with both words and deeds," Stark said. "We hope that he is removed."
Stark said she believes others should also be held responsible for their role in the attack, including members of Congress who may have helped rioters.
"It's not fair for only the foot soldiers to be held accountable but the leaders who asked for that are not," Stark said. "The captains have to be held accountable too."
Staff writers John Hacker, Joe Hadsall and Emily Younker contributed to this report.