Rep. Tom Rice once was among President Donald Trump's greatest advocates, with a 94 percent voting record with the former president, reported FiveThirtyEight. But now, Rice has joined the list of Trump foes the former president's allies are seeking to make an example out of.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Rice explained that he swore an oath to the Constitution when he took office, and he takes it seriously.
"What he did was a frontal assault on the Constitution," he said in South Carolina.
But he's still trying to straddle the line, said the Post.
"He defended Trump during his first impeachment, saying, 'he has been the target of an astounding barrage of lies, deceit, and corruption.' And he objected to certifying the 2020 election results from Pennsylvania and Arizona that Trump falsely said were fraudulent," the report explained.
Yet, when it became time to impeach Trump for the attack on the Capitol, Rice wasn't playing around anymore.
"What do you call somebody who votes with Trump 99 percent of the time? A traitor," Rice said, quoting a joke someone told him months ago.
But the reality is that Trump supports people who don't vote with him 99 percent of the time, his beef is with impeachment and any investigation into him. That became clear when Trump gave a glowing recommendation to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to take over for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). But Stefanik's voting record couldn't hold a candle up against Cheney's overwhelming support of Trump. Now Rice is getting the same treatment as the GOP continues to eat their own.
"If you want a congressman who's going to choose a personality over the Constitution, I'm not your guy," Rice told voters in his district when asked about why he didn't vote to support Trump.
Rice did his due diligence. He asked his staff to find as much information about where President Donald Trump was on Jan. 6 and why he didn't act sooner. While he finally did post a video calling his people "very special" and telling them "we love you," he eventually told them to stop beating police officers, chanting for Mike Pence's death and destroying the Capitol.
The one point that Rice felt drew a line for him was Trump's attacks on then-Vice President Mike Pence. Trump alleged the VP lacked "the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country (sic) and our Constitution" when he refused to stop the certification of the election.
"To me, that is completely despicable, and I will vote that way every single time," said Rice to a crowd of constituents. "For him to be calling Mike Pence a coward and him sitting at the White House surrounded by Secret Service and tweeting while Mike Pence is in the middle of all that, and he's a coward? Give me a break."
"If the president, by force, can intimidate Congress into voting their way, then we might as well do away with Congress and hand it over to a king. What he did in my mind is what dictators do," he also said.
Now his political career looks like it's coming to an end. As the 2022 midterm elections grow near, former voters of Rice, who were once huge supporters, particularly given all Rice had done for them. Now, because of the Trump vote, they're against it.
It's reminiscent of the book "What's the Matter With Kansas," in which historian Thomas Frank argues Republicans in Kansas were consistently voting against their own economic interests because of culture-war issues like LGBT equality or abortion. In South Carolina, Rice may have delivered for his district, but those who once supported him appear to prefer someone who may not deliver for them, but who supports Donald Trump.