COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The central committee of Ohio’s Republican Party is calling for Rep. Anthony Gonzalez to resign and has censured him for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump in February.
The committee passed two resolutions Friday. The first, passed on a nearly unanimous vote, censured Gonzalez and the other nine Republican U.S. representatives who voted to impeach Trump for his actions that led to the Capitol riots in January. The second vote, which passed on a narrower margin, called on Gonzalez to resign.
Gonzalez, who represents the 16th district in northeast Ohio, is already facing a primary challenger in his reelection bid: Max Tiller, a former Trump aide who has earned an endorsement from the former president.
The resolution censuring Gonzalez and the others called the impeachment — the second of Trump’s term — “meritless, unprecedented, unconstitutional and purposeless,” according to an Associated Press report. The House impeachment vote came just days before Trump left office.
Leading the meeting was state party chairman Bob Paduchik, a Trump adviser who took over the role from Jane Timken, another Trump loyalist who recently stepped down to run for U.S. Senate in 2022.
Before the meeting, Timken posted a tweet supporting the censure, but she has been criticized for not speaking out against Gonzalez sooner — most notably by former state treasurer Josh Mandel, who is running against Timken in the Republican primary.
Timken and Mandel are among those running to replace Rob Portman, who has announced he will retire.
After the vote, Portman sent a statement to NBC4 saying that, despite the party’s actions, he still considers Gonzalez a friend.
“While I disagreed with his votes on impeachment, Anthony is a friend and a dedicated public servant,” Portman said. “We Republicans should be focused on uniting in opposition to the Biden Administration’s trillions in proposed new spending programs and job-killing tax increases.”
Gonzalez, 36, is a former Ohio State and NFL player serving out his second term in the House. In a statement in February explaining his impeachment vote, Gonzalez blamed Trump for helping organize and incite the rioters. The riot came as Gonzalez and other House and Senate members were counting the electoral votes to certify Joe Biden’s win over Trump.
“When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th including the President’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack, I am compelled to support impeachment,” Gonzalez said in his statement.
For weeks before the riots, including in a speech right before they happened, Trump had been pushing a series of unproven claims about election fraud.
Trump has resumed similar comments this week.