It may have been the moment Democrats had long awaited, but Nancy Pelosi wasn’t about to allow a celebration.
In a moment that quickly went viral, the House speaker appeared to sternly silence House Democrats who began to applaud as she announced the final vote on the first of two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.
Pelosi has emphasized throughout the day that Wednesday’s vote was a “sad” occasion, and had reportedly instructed her caucus not to appear celebratory of the inevitable result.
Wearing a large pin of the ceremonial mace of the chamber as she spoke on the House floor on Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi said it was “tragic” that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary.
“He gave us no choice,” she said.
The House voted 230-197 to approve a first article of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power, with one “present” vote. A second article charging Trump with obstruction of Congress was approved 229-198.
The historic vote made Trump only the third president in US history to be impeached.
The impeachment inquiry has been a legacy-defining moment of Pelosi’s long career. For months she resisted calls for impeachment from her own party, before changing her position after a whistleblower complaint detailed Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the former vice-president Joe Biden. She launched the formal impeachment inquiry within a matter of days and has maintained tight control throughout the process.
In a press conference following the House vote, she struck a somber tone.
“The House has acted on a very sad day to protect the constitution of the United States,” she said, calling the vote “appropriate and urgent”.
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