ABC News' This Week hosted South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice this morning. Rice is a garden variety conservative in a garden variety conservative district in all ways but one: he voted to impeach Trump-- for which he's going to lose his political career. Does anyone really think Austerity freak Paul Ryan traveling down to South Carolina is going to net Rice a single extra vote. The most recent survey, by GOP polling firm Trafalgar shows a rout-in-the-making:
As of March 25, this R+11 district that gave Trump a 58.8-40.2% win over Biden had at least half a dozen Republicans running against Rice, 3 of whom had raised enough money to get out a message to voters. This is what Rice and his 3 main opponents had spent by the 25th:
Tom Rice- $1,657,058
state Rep. Russell Fry- $560,185
Ken Richardson- $340,117
Garrett Barton- $221,698
Jonathan Karl went down to South Carolina to interview Rice and began by reminding Rice of something he needed no reminding of: "You surprised almost everybody when you came out and voted in favor of impeachment." Rice has learned how to deal with the question: "It wasn't that hard. I mean, when I thought about what had happened and the president's activity or inactivity that day, when he sat there and he put his own vice president's life, and the vice president’s wife and his daughter's life at risk of people shouting 'hang Mike Pence.' When he watched the Capitol, the people’s house, being (inaudible), when he watched the Capitol Police officers being beaten for three or four hours and lifted not one finger to stop it. The more I read about that, the more I learned about... it was clear to me what I had to do. I was livid. I'm livid today about it. Now, I took an oath to protect the Constitution and I did it then and I would do it again tomorrow."
So Karl asked him if there is no way he would support Trump for president again. Rice said "There's one way. If he apologized... If he came out and said I'm sorry, that I made a huge mistake on January 6th, then I might consider it."
First of all, Trump would never apologize. But I doubt, after what he's said about Rice, that Rice would ever vote for him again, no matter what Trump got talked into doing for whatever dubious motives. In fact, Rice told Karl that Trump is "a narcissist and he's driven by attention and he’s driven by revenge." So I don't see a rapprochement coming anytime in our lifetimes.
Rice insisted that defending the constitution and voting to impeach Trump-- which so few of his GOP colleagues did-- "was the conservative vote. There’s no question in my mind." He also said he thinks Liz Cheney would be a "great speaker... I think she’s a real Republican. I think she is very conservative. And I think she’s a fearless leader." Like Rice, Cheney will also lose her seat in Congress.