By Billy Hallowell
“Truth is truth.” That’s just one of the mantras embraced by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
It was Herrera Beutler’s quest for truth, rooted in her Christian faith, that she said compelled her to buck the Republican Party line last month and vote to impeach former president Donald Trump — a decision that has sparked frustration among some constituents.
But the congresswoman told the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast that she stands by her decision to put truth above politics, adding that the hardest part about the political dilemmas plaguing America right now is “seeing so many people who know better not live it out.”
“I’m just honest enough to believe that truth is truth,” she said. “Truth actually overcomes fear.”
Herrera Beutler said she understands people’s fear and frustration after Trump’s loss — emotions that are driving some to turn to harsh political rebukes and rhetoric. But she also offered a rare perspective among political leaders: that faith must be the antecedent to everything else.
Listen to Herrera Beutler reveal why she voted to impeach Trump:
The congresswoman’s message is particularly pertinent amid ongoing discussions and debates over the proper place for politics in Christians’ lives.
“There is no king but king Jesus. … when anybody or anything creeps onto the throne in your heart, don’t be surprised if God Almighty shakes it,” she said. “We’re the salt and the light and if we lose our saltiness, what good are we?”
Herrera Beutler’s take on Trump, politics, and faith is unique for a plethora of reasons. First and foremost, she’s among those who believe there were “problems with the way the elections happened” in places like Georgia and Pennsylvania. She also voted for Trump in 2020.
But the events surrounding the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol changed everything. Herrera Beutler said she turned to her faith in the wake of the insurrection, rather than relying on a political blueprint — and falling prey to personal re-election fears.
“When I looked at the day’s events, the things I lived through … I talked to primary sources myself. I tried reaching out to the White House as it was happening, saying, ‘The president needs to get on the TV,’” she said. “Ultimately, it came down to a set of facts.”
Herrera Beutler specifically broke down some of the events surrounding Trump and the assault that left her in dismay.
“Over the course of those three hours … what the president didn’t do, to me, was the most compelling,” she said, adding that she desperately tried to reach White House officials as well as her own leadership to compel the president to tell protestors to halt the insurrection.
One of the specific acts that stunned Herrera Beutler was Trump’s decision to tweet “an attack at [former vice-president] Mike Pence” in the midst of the chaos. She saw this tweet as especially problematic considering the intense anger being misdirected at the former vice-president based on inaccurate claims over his faux ability to further delay election results.
But that’s not all, as Herrera Beutler alleged that Trump also phoned senators who were under lockdown, urging them to further delay the Electoral College count.
“The president was making phone calls to senators as they’re in lockdown,” Herrera Beutler said. “They’re still locked down, because there are people still being attacked in the Capitol, and the president isn’t calling to say, ‘Are you okay? What can I do?’ He’s calling, and you know what he says? He says, ‘Can you do what you can to further delay this?’”
Herrera Beutler said the collective events of the day led her to break ranks as one of just 10 Republicans in the House to vote to impeach the former president. And she knows not everyone in her district is happy about the decision.
“Republicans in my district, they’re the ones who brought me to the party,” Herrera Beutler said, adding that it was her love for America that led her into politics in the first place.
Even if Herrera Beutler loses her seat in 2022 over her impeachment vote, she stands by it, and is hoping people see the role of truth and faith at the center of it all.
“If I lose my seat and all 10 of us who did this get reprimanded — if more people who believe that Jesus really is who he said he was and he really came to offer us life and take away our shame … and out of this we get more people living that way, it’s all worth it,” she said.
In the end, Herrera Beutler wants to see Christians hold themselves and one another to account, while also following Jesus’ example when it comes to interacting with political and ideological opponents.
“Everywhere you look in the gospel … everywhere that [Jesus] went, he was abundantly gracious and loving to people who were doing the opposite of what he wanted,” she said. “The only people he was hard on were the religious leaders.”
Listen to the full discussion here.