Reliably Republican Weld County Considers Way Forward Amid Trump’s Impeachment

Dan Boyce/CPR News
Downtown Greeley on the morning of the second impeachment of President Donald Trump. Greeley is in Weld County, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of re-electing Donald Trump in November’s election.

Across the street from an 8-foot tall Statue of Liberty replica donated by the Boy Scouts of America in 1950, Greeley resident Ken Sudduth mused Wednesday about the current state of affairs happening more than 1,600 miles away in Washington, D.C.

Sudduth said he thought the U.S. House of Representatives should be focusing their attention elsewhere, and not on impeachment of President Donald Trump. Nearby, a flag pole flew a large American flag. Just under it, a Trump flag flew.

“I would say that the best thing for our country now is to move on,” Sudduth said a few short hours before lawmakers voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a historic second time. 

Sudduth’s words echoed those from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. The close Trump ally said Wednesday the president “bears responsibility” for the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. However, McCarthy also said “a vote to impeach would further divide this nation, a vote to impeach will further fan the flames, the partisan division.”

Weld County, one of the most reliable Republican strongholds in the state, went for Trump with nearly 60-percent of the vote in November’s elections. 

Yet, those stopping for lunch in downtown Greeley Wednesday were anything but unified in their thoughts on impeaching President Trump. 

Attorney Joe Williams described himself as an unaffiliated voter. He pushed back on the idea that removing Trump from office would make political divisions worse.

"If you're going to repair the country, you can't just say 'Alright, well, this kind of thing happens, let's just all kind of come back together,'” Williams said. “The way that you have to come back together is with a collective understanding that that's not OK.”

Nearby, real estate agent Desaray Fajardo said she hopes people in her community can continue to respect each other regardless of their political beliefs.

"Just because you don't like the color purple, doesn't mean that you're a bad person,” Fajardo said. “Same thing goes for everything else."

Dan Boyce/CPR News
Real Estate Agent Desaray Fajardo said there is not a lot Greeley can do about the impeachment of Donald Trump one way or the other. She hopes members of her community can work on respecting one another.

Others said they have had enough with Trump. Greeley resident Kenny Wagner was leaving a downtown cafe after lunch with his wife. Wagner said he not only hoped for Trump's impeachment, but that the 45th president would be criminally prosecuted.

"I think he should do time and hard labor," he said. "It could be divisive, and that's unfortunate, but he needs to be held accountable."

The 232-197 U.S. House vote for impeachment included 10 Republicans voting in favor of impeachment, most prominently high ranking Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. For many, it represented the first hints of a split in a party that has largely shown unquestioning loyalty to Trump for the past four years.

Colorado’s house delegation split on party lines in the impeachment vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans against. That includes Republican Ken Buck, a former district attorney in Weld County who now represents the region and the rest of the 4th Congressional District in Washington.

Last week, Buck told Colorado Public Radio that “there is a lot of blame to go around” when it comes to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Buck doubled down on that sentiment Wednesday when he told CNN that “both sides are at fault” for Wednesday’s violence.

There’s been no substantial evidence that anyone but supporters of Donald Trump made up the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.

Democratic House leadership says it plans to send the impeachment to the Senate for a trial immediately. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said if he intends to take it up before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20th.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.