, ,

Mike Gallagher one of only 4 Republicans to vote against impeaching Homeland Security secretary

Gallagher: Voting for impeachment would 'pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment'

Mike Gallagher
U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, walks towards the House floor to vote on a resolution to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)

Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher was one of only four Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote against articles of impeachment for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday.

The GOP-controlled House failed to impeach Mayorkas over the Biden administration’s handling of the southern border on a 214-216 vote. The vote came as Republicans on Capitol Hill appear poised to block a bipartisan border security deal.

Gallagher, a Republican from Green Bay, crossed party lines to vote against impeachment. The rest of Wisconsin’s House delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting for impeachment and Democrats voting against.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

After casting his vote, Gallagher was swarmed on the House floor by other Republicans attempting to change his mind, according to the Washington Post. At one point, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, was seen shouting at Gallagher, the Post reported.

Gallagher’s office did not immediately respond to an interview request. But the Green Bay congressman explained his vote in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal.

In the op-ed, Gallagher slammed President Joe Biden’s handling of the southern border, but said impeaching Mayorkas “would only pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment.” Gallagher went on to write that he believes Mayorkas’ job performance has been a “disgrace,” but said “incompetence” doesn’t rise to the level of high crimes or misdemeanors.

“I disagree with my Republican colleagues who voted on Tuesday to impeach Mr. Mayorkas,” Gallagher wrote. “Impeachment not only would fail to resolve Mr. Biden’s border crisis but would also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations.”

Many of Gallagher’s fellow House Republicans painted a different picture following the failed impeachment vote. That included U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Prairie du Chien, who posted a video on social media after the vote saying he was “shocked and disgusted.”

“I’m shocked because several of my colleagues decided not to vote to impeach Secretary Mayorkas, who willfully, knowingly ordered his subordinates to violate the law by telling them to not deport convicted illegal alien felons,” he said. “We’re gonna get that impeachment bill back on the floor next week.”

Some Democrats on Capitol Hill, including U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, applauded the Republicans who crossed party lines to block the impeachment attempt.

“Impeachment is a tool for accountability, not a weapon for partisan warfare,” Pocan wrote on social media. “I’m glad enough House Republicans saw that too and voted against this political stunt.”

However, the chair of the Republican Party of Brown County, Doug Reich, said the local party was “deeply concerned” by Gallagher’s vote.

“While we acknowledge Rep. Gallagher’s apprehension regarding impeachment’s misuse as a tool for settling policy disputes, as often seen from the Democrats, we believe a vote for impeachment serves as a powerful affirmation of our members’ grave concerns about the federal government’s dereliction of duty,” Reich said in a statement. “We respectfully call on Rep. Gallagher to reconsider his stance on this important issue.”

Expert says vote shows cracks in national GOP

Kristina LaPlant, an assistant professor of political science and public administration at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, said the failed impeachment vote Tuesday is indicative of leadership breakdowns in the national Republican Party.

She said it was clear House Democrats would vote against impeachment, making it a tricky vote for a slim GOP majority.

“Republicans who voted ‘no’ probably feel more beholden to the interests that the voters in their districts care about, rather than engaging in this kind of political theater, which is how it’s been described by the media,” LaPlant said.

While Gallagher has won reelection comfortably, his House district includes Brown and Outagamie counties, which have been more competitive in recent years. While Gallagher is a Republican, Green Bay’s mayor is a Democrat. So too is the Outagamie County executive.

LaPlant said Gallagher’s vote against impeachment may have been responsive to representing a district that’s not “solidly partisan.”

“There’s a few politicians out there that say, ‘I want to bring benefits. I want to spend my time in Congress efficiently. I don’t want to play these partisan games, and I’m going to look at the broader picture,’” she said. “I think that’s what we see going on here.”