Bentz opposes impeachment but expects Trump to be held ‘accountable’

U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz

ONTARIO – U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, the only Republican in Oregon’s Congressional delegation, said Saturday that he doesn’t think President Trump should resign or be impeached. He said he expects the president to be held accountable “in the proper way.”

Bentz, just finishing his first week in Congress representing the 2nd Congressional District, said in an interview Saturday with the Enterprise that impeaching Trump wouldn’t be a “productive exercise.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the House would move ahead to impeach Trump if he didn’t resign. A draft of Articles of Impeachment said Trump should be impeached for inciting an insurrection at the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday.

Oregon’s two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, have both called for Trump’s removal from office, as have U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, all Democrats. Saturday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, also a Democrat, announced that he would support impeachment. A day earlier, he publicly apologized for comparing impeachment to a lynching during a Congressional call.

That leaves Bentz alone in the delegation in supporting the president’s continued service in office until the change of administrations on Jan. 20.

Bentz said he didn’t support the call for a resignation because “he’s going to be gone.”

He opposes impeachment.

“I don’t think that’s the proper thing to do,” said Bentz, an attorney from Ontario. “The proper thing to do is to have him leave office under the normal course.”

Bentz said, however, that he expects Trump is “going to be held accountable in the proper way” for his role in Wednesday’s insurrection.

He said he has asked for research on what may be the options “under the law” to hold Trump accountable.

Bentz was among 138 Republicans who voted Thursday to object to Pennsylvania’s election results. The vote came just hours after the invasion of the Capitol was quelled. Bentz didn’t support the objection raised to Arizona’s results.  

Bentz represents a heavily Republican district that covers eastern Oregon and large portions of southern Oregon. He resigned his seat in the state Senate to run for Congress, winning a seat vacated by the retirement of Republican Greg Walden of Hood River.

Contact Editor Les Zaitz by email at [email protected].

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