Senate Republicans may find it convenient to condemn President Donald Trump’s role in fueling the attack on the Capitol last week, but it’s unclear whether they have the will to do much more.
So far, only two Republican senators – Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) – have called for Trump’s resignation, while only one – Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) – has announced that it is considering the impeachment article. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also reportedly “delighted” that the House is indicting Trump, believing the President has committed criminal offenses, despite not making public statements, according to the New York Times expresses his position. No Republicans have yet committed to impeachment charges against the president.
Whether these changes show how willing Republicans actually are to hold the president accountable. The House is expected to indict Trump for the second time this week, accusing him of inciting a riot. Once that is the case, a Senate conviction depends on the support of Republicans: 67 votes are required in the upper chamber to convict the president, which means at least 17 Republicans must join the 50-member Democratic caucus, to achieve this result As soon as Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) arrive, they are seated.
At this point, while Republicans have largely denounced the violence committed by the rioters over the past week, they have not yet signaled whether they will continue to oppose the president’s actions – some suggest they just want to move on. Last year, Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) was the only Republican who voted to convict Trump of impeachment.
If McConnell chooses to back the condemnation, it would mean a sharp break with Trump by one of the most powerful leaders in Congress in the Republican Party, potentially leading more members of his conference to follow suit. The Republican legislature will soon have to decide where it stands as the Senate goes through yet another impeachment trial.
What Republican lawmakers have said so far
So far, there are no Senate Republicans who have supported the impeachment conviction of the president, although a handful – Murkowski, Toomey, and Sasse – have raised concerns about his conduct. Other Senators starring alongside McConnell include Romney and Susan Collins, the only two Republican lawmakers who voted to call witnesses to Trump’s impeachment trial last January.
We will monitor statements as they come in from various senators.
A recent Murkowski interview with the Anchorage Daily News failed to cover whether she would support impeachment, despite an explicit call for Trump to step down. Murkowski has also raised questions about whether she will continue to join the Republicans in the Senate, but has said she will not join the Democratic Party.
“I want him out. He’s done enough damage, “she told Trump. “I think he should go. He said he won’t show up. He will not appear at the initiation. “
Toomey, a Pennsylvania lawmaker who is retiring after that tenure, was the second Republican senator to push Trump’s resignation – but he doubted the timing of an impeachment trial and said there wasn’t enough time to get the president before the president to remove. elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. (Democrats have said the impeachment process is about making sure Trump has consequences for his actions, even if the process takes place after he has already resigned.)
“I think the best way for our country, Chuck, is for the president to step down and leave as soon as possible,” Toomey said on NBC’s Meet the Press last weekend. “I don’t think there is time for impeachment – there are 10 days before the president leaves anyway.” Earlier, Toomey admitted in another press appearance on Fox News that Trump had committed “criminal acts”, but feared that House Democrats would “politicize” an impeachment process.
WATCH: Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) Tells Meet the Press, “The best thing would be to step down” from President Trump. # MTP @ SenToomey: “The best way for our country is for the president to resign and leave as soon as possible” pic.twitter.com/uBjXHaRC3s
– Meet the press (@MeetThePress) January 10, 2021
Sasse is one of the few Republicans in the Senate who has dealt directly with the impeachment, despite not saying how he would vote on the conviction. The best he has offered so far is that he will “review” the articles when the House sends them to the Senate.
“The House, when you get together and have a trial, I’ll definitely consider what articles you could move because, like I told you, I believe the president disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said during a CBS This Morning- Gig last week. “He swore an oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution. He acted against it. What he did was bad. “
Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse has blamed President Trump for the violent attack on the Capitol, calling it an “inevitable and ugly outcome”. @ SenSasse joins us now. pic.twitter.com/bZHDKuXEWx
– CBS this morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 8, 2021
Support Vox explanatory journalism
At Vox, we want to answer your most important questions every day and provide you and our audiences around the world with information that empowers you through understanding. Vox’s work reaches more people than ever before, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism is consuming resources. Your financial contribution is not a donation, but it does allow our staff to continue offering free articles, videos, and podcasts to everyone who needs them. Please consider contributing to Vox today, starting at $ 3.