Year after Trump impeachment vote, this California town believes their Republican congressman ‘stabbed us all in the back’

HANFORD – It’s been a year now, but in this Central Valley farm town, like the nation, the divide has only grown.

Todd Cotta was working in his gun shop when a customer came in with the news about David Valadao, the Republican congressman for whom Cotta had campaigned across Kings County and beyond just months before.

Bewildered, Cotta turned to his phone and tapped in a text message to a man he considered a friend.

“Hey David. Somebody’s spreading a nasty (rumor) that you voted to impeach Trump,” Cotta wrote. “I certainly hope that’s not true.”

Within seconds, Valadao responded.

“It’s true.”

The two haven’t talked since.

And, really, neither have the two sides of the country.

HANFORD, CA – January 10: Kings Gun and Archery Center owner Todd Cotta shows a text exchange from a year ago with U.S. Rep. David Valadao after the Republican congressman voted to impeach former President Trump in 2021. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

A year after President Trump was impeached for a historic second time, few places better illustrate America’s lost middle ground.

Historians will look back to Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, as a day of infamy. But in Valadao’s hometown of Hanford, they point to Jan. 13, 2021, when, as local mechanic Joe Flower puts it, the local congressman “not only stabbed the president, but stabbed us all in the back.”

Valadao was one of just 10 Republican House members — and the only one in California — who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection.

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That decision put the 44-year-old dairy farmer and the other reviled Republicans in the crosshairs of Trump himself, who gloated after two of them announced last fall they would not seek reelection: “2 down, 8 to go!”

Representative David Valadao (R-CA) participates in a press conference with Republican members of the House of Representatives about immigration reform at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA) 

For Valadao, vilification over the vote — and a redrawn congressional district that cuts out some of his conservative base and adds more Democratic voters — has left him in a political no-man’s land. On the nation’s political map, the backlash in California’s cattle country could also cost the GOP a precious seat as Republicans hope to flip the Democrat-controlled House during the November midterm elections.

“Those angry Trump supporters aren’t going to vote for a Democrat in November, but it’s entirely possible that they simply don’t vote at all,” said GOP political consultant Dan Schnur. “This could end up being the greatest challenge to congressional Republicans regaining their majorities.”

While Democrats called Valadao’s impeachment vote courageous, there’s no chance they’re crossing party lines to give him their vote. For Republicans, there is no getting past his egregious lapse in loyalty. A year later, who remembers that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose district nuzzles against Valadao’s, said at the time “the president bears responsibility for (Jan. 6’s) attack on Congress by mob rioters”? They only remember the impeachment votes.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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