After wasting weeks on the issue, the House Republican impeachment vote against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas proved to be a dud—and one person was particularly unhappy about the result.
House Speaker Mike Johnson was visibly upset by Tuesday’s 216–214 vote against impeachment, contorting his face upon reading the result of the vote.
As Democrats in Congress cheered, Johnson slammed the gavel for the House to come to order.
Republicans had accused Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” with regard to his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, threatening to symbolically oust the secretary as part of a border crusade in which the party does practically everything except negotiate a legitimate border package.
Over the last several months, Republicans have routinely conceded the actual job of governing to Donald Trump’s reelection wishes, making a crisis out of the border without actually working to solve it. On Monday, Johnson reiterated that the bipartisan Senate border package would be “dead on arrival” in the House. Meanwhile, Republican governors are going toe to toe with federal agents along the Rio Grande section of the southern border, backing Texas’s defiance of a Supreme Court order to remove haphazardly placed concertina wire that effectively prevents federal border agents from doing their jobs.
Four House Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Mayorkas’s impeachment. That included Utah Representative Blake Moore, who changed his vote at the last minute, ultimately siding with the liberal party to avoid a tie.
“House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain, rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg said in a statement to The New York Times.
“This baseless impeachment should never have moved forward,” she continued. “If House Republicans are serious about border security, they should abandon these political games and instead support the bipartisan national security agreement in the Senate.”
It was a spectacular embarrassment for Johnson—who in December said that God had told him to lead the GOP, like Moses, through a “Red Sea moment”—revealing that the rookie speaker just might not have the gumption to maneuver his radically divided caucus.