After seven Republican senators voted on Saturday to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, at least two state GOP organizations rebuked their own senator.
What is the background?
Although Trump was acquitted on Saturday by a vote of 57-43, falling short of the 67-vote threshold needed to convict, seven Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in determining that Trump was “guilty” of “incitement of insurrection” stemming from the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Those Republican senators were: Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.), and Pat Toomey (Penn.).
What was the response?
Burr and Cassidy were swiftly rebuked by their state parties after their vote.
In fact, the Louisiana Republican Party wasted no time censuring Cassidy.
“The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Louisiana has unanimously voted to censure Senator Bill Cassidy for his vote cast earlier today to convict former President Donald J. Trump on the impeachment charge,” the Louisiana Republican Party said in a brief statement.
Cassidy explained his vote, saying, “Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person.”
Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because… https://t.co/yjYrlcun7j
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.)1613250549.0
Meanwhile, the North Carolina Republican Party also rebuked Burr for his vote.
“North Carolina Republicans sent Senator Burr to the United States Senate to uphold the Constitution and his vote today to convict in a trial that he declared unconstitutional is shocking and disappointing,” NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement.
Barr also explained why he voted to convict.
“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. Therefore, I have voted to convict,” Barr said in a statement. “I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary.”
Only two of the seven Republicans who voted to convict will be up for re-election within the next four years: Murkowski in 2022 and Romney in 2024.
On the other hand, Sasse, Cassidy, and Collins were just re-elected, while Burr and Toomey will retire at the conclusion of their terms.