‘Because he’s guilty!’ Seven Republicans who voted to convict Donald Trump explain their votes – with Ben Sasse slamming colleagues saying ‘tribalism is a powerful drug’
- Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump
- The 57-43 vote fell short of the needed 67 to convict
- ‘I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,’ said Sen. Bill Cassidy
- Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski is the only one to face voters in 2022
- Two are retiring
- Sen. Mitch McConnell voted to acquit but then gave blistering speech
A total of seven Republicans joined Democrats to vote to convict President Trump of incitement of insurrection – including members of a more centrist bloc that has sometimes been willing to challenge Trump as well as some surprises.
The lawmakers, some who will face voters and some who will not, spelled out their own reasons.
Cassidy, who also voted that the trial was constitutional, comes from a conservative state with a large MAGA base. He issued a concise statement, a day after being pictured holding typed text that appeared to make the case for an acquittal.
‘Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,’ he said Saturday.
‘Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,’ said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
Murkowski is the only one to face voters in 2022.
‘It’s not about me and my life and my job. This is this is really about what we stand for. And if I can’t say what I believe that our president should stand for, then why should I ask Alaskans to stand with me?’ she said.
The group included Sen. Richard Burr, who is retiring and who previously chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee during the Russia probe, and who voted ‘guilty.’
He explained that while he voted the proceeding wasn’t constitutional, once the Senate voted that it was, he was obliged to consider the case that was made.
‘The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” he said in the statement. “Therefore, I have voted to convict.”
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., walks in the Capitol as the Senate proceeds in a rare weekend session for final arguments in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voted for Raskin’s witness motion, then got in a clash with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
Lisa Murkowski faces Alaska voters in 2022
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was just reelected in November
Ben Sasse of Nebraska released a lengthy statement with his reasons for voting to convict
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is retiring
Also voting ‘guilty’ were Republicans Mitt Romney, who was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump on an article during his first impeachment. He came up during the trial when managers shared security footage of him being warned by hero Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman that he was walking towards the mob. He quickly turns around and hustles the other direction.
Republican senators voting to convict former President Trump of incitement of insurrection
Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.)
Bill Cassidy (La.)
Mitt Romney (Utah)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Ben Sasse (Neb.)
Pat Toomey (Pa.)
Sens. Susan Collins, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey, who is retiring, also voted to convict.
Said Sasse: ‘An impeachment trial is a public declaration of what a president’s oath of office means and what behavior that oath demands of presidents in the future. But here’s the sad reality: If we were talking about a Democratic president, most Republicans and most Democrats would simply swap sides. Tribalism is a hell of a drug, but our oath to the Constitution means we’re constrained to the facts.’
Then he continued in a statement: ‘”First, President Trump lied that he ‘won the election by a landslide.’ He lied about widespread voter fraud, spreading conspiracy theories despite losing 60 straight court challenges, many of his losses handed down by great judges he nominated … The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd — parts of which were widely known to be violent — to Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties. Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis. Each of these actions are violations of a president’s oath of office.’
The Seven Republicans voted Saturday to convict Trump of incitement of insurrection was easily the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings.
While lawmakers voted 57-43 to find Trump guilty, the evenly divided Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to convict an impeached president.
But by joining all 50 Democrats who voted against Trump, the seven GOP senators created a clear majority against him and provided a bipartisan chorus of condemnation of the former president. Trump was acquitted of inciting an insurrection for riling up a crowd of his supporters before they attacked the U.S. Capitol last month.
Voting to find Trump guilty were GOP Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Most of the defecting Republicans had clashed with Trump over the years. Burr and Toomey have said they will retire and not seek reelection when their terms expire next year.
Sen. Mitch McConnell voted to acquit but then gave a blistering speech denouncing Trump’s conduct – drawing furious pushback from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
‘They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the speaker of the House,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the chamber had voted. ‘They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president. They did this because they’d been fed wild, falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth because he was angry he lost an election. Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty,’ said McConnell – although he himself voted to acquit Trump of the charge, citing technical grounds.
‘The mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners. Hanging his flags. And screaming their loyalty to him,’ said McConnell.
‘I don’t know whether it was for donors or what but whatever it was it was a very disingenuous speech,’ Pelosi fumed.
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