More raw votes were cast to impeach President Donald Trump than any other president in history.
But a larger proportion of votes were cast to impeach President Andrew Johnson in 1868.
On Dec. 18, 2019, President Donald Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. The House of Representatives approved both articles of impeachment against the president in House Resolution 775; the first article charged the president with abuse of power, the second with obstruction of congress, in votes cast largely along party lines.
Shortly after the historic vote, a number of social media users pointed out that more votes were cast in support of Trump's impeachment than the impeachment of any other president in U.S. history.
This is technically true. More raw votes were indeed cast to impeach Trump than any other president in history. However, this statistic is missing some important context.
Only three presidents in U.S. history have been impeached:
- Andrew Johnson: On Feb. 24, 1868, the House voted 126 to 47 to impeach Johnson of high crimes and misdemeanors.
- Bill Clinton: On Dec. 19, 1998, the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton. The charge of perjury was supported by 228 votes, while the charge of obstruction of justice was approved with 221 votes.
- Donald Trump: On Dec. 18, 2019, the House voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump. The charge of abuse of power was approved with 230 votes, and the charge of obstruction of congress was approved with 229 votes.
So more votes were cast to impeach Trump (230 on one charge, 229 on a second) than Johnson (126) and Clinton (228 and 221).
However, when we look at the percentage of votes cast in favor of impeachment, we see that a larger proportion of votes were cast to impeach Andrew Johnson (66%) than Trump (52.8%) or Clinton (52.4%). Furthermore, it simply wasn't possible for Johnson to receive more votes than Trump, as there were only 190 members in the House of Representatives when Johnson was impeached, compared to 435 during Trump and Clinton's impeachments.