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Tag: trump impeachment acquittal

Dishonor Roll: 22 Republicans Who Voted To Acquit Trump Admit He’s Guilty

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

On February 13, all but seven Senate Republicans voted in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump to acquit him on the single charge of incitement of insurrection for his role in the attack by his followers on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Twenty-two of those senators who voted to acquit have said that Trump in fact bears responsibility for the violence at the Capitol.

1) Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY)

McConnell was among the 43 Republicans who voted to acquit Trump on Saturday. After the vote, McConnell said, "There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him."

2) Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)

"When it comes to accountability, the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution," Graham said shortly after the Capitol attack, adding, "It breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, would allow yesterday to happen and it will be a major part of his presidency."

3) Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)

Shortly after the riots, Cruz told a Houston ABC affiliate, "The president's language and rhetoric often goes too far. I think, yesterday in particular, the president's language and rhetoric crossed the line and it was reckless. I disagree with it, and I have disagreed with the president's language and rhetoric for the last four years."

4) Sen. John Thune (SD)

Asked by CNN the day before the Senate trial vote if he if he was willing to defend Trump's behavior leading up to the Capitol attack, Thune answered, "No, not at all. The way he handled the post-election, both in terms of his public statements and things that he tried to do to change the outcome, no."

5) Sen. Mike Rounds (SD)

The evening of the Capitol attack, Rounds commented, "If anything [Trump] urged, in a very emotional situation, very inappropriate action by people that appear to be his supporters."

6) Sen. John Cornyn (TX)

Cornyn was asked by a reporter in late January whether he could defend Trump's words and actions leading up to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. "I'm not going to defend them," he said.

7) Sen. Roy Blunt (MO)

On Jan. 10, Blunt said, "Well, I think the president's decisions and his actions that day and leading up to that day on this topic were clearly reckless. I said that very early in the evening on Wednesday, that this was a tragic day for the country and the president had some — had involvement in that."

8) Sen. Mike Braun (IN)

In late January, Braun said, "I think most would have a lot of trouble saying there was no connection" between Trump's behavior and the deadly attack on the Capitol.

9) Sen. Kevin Cramer (ND)

Cramer told USA Today Jan. 6, "The call to march, and to, you know, march down to the Capitol, it was inciting. It was pouring fuel on a spark, so no, [Trump] does bear some responsibility."

10) Sen. John Boozman (AR)

Boozman said in a statement on Feb. 13, "While former President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for what happened that day, the perpetrators who planned, coordinated and assaulted the Capitol building must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and brought to justice."

11) Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (WV)

In a statement issued on Feb. 13, Capito said, "What happened on January 6 threatened our foundational transfer of power and the actions were an embarrassment to our country and everything that we stand for. The actions and reactions of President Trump were disgraceful, and history will judge him harshly."

12) Sen. John Hoeven (ND)

Hoeven said in a statement after his vote to acquit, "President Trump should not have encouraged the protest on January 6, but those rioters who broke the law are responsible for their actions and we must condemn all those who engage in violence."

13) Sen. Jerry Moran (KS)

In a statement after he voted to acquit Trump, Moran said, "President Trump was wrong to continue to spread allegations of widespread fraud and not immediately discourage the reprehensible and unpatriotic behavior."

14) Sen. Rob Portman (OH)

Portman said in a statement issued Feb. 13, "I have said that what President Trump did that day was inexcusable because in his speech he encouraged the mob, and that he bears some responsibility for the tragic violence that occurred. I have also criticized his slow response as the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, putting at risk the safety of Vice President Pence, law enforcement officers, and others who work in the Capitol. Even after the attack, some of the language in his tweets and in a video showed sympathy for the violent mob."

15) Sen. Dan Sullivan (AK)

Sullivan said in a statement issued Feb. 13, "Make no mistake: I condemn the horrific violence that engulfed the Capitol on January 6. I also condemn former President Trump's poor judgment in calling a rally on that day, and his actions and inactions when it turned into a riot."

16) Sen. Rand Paul (KY)

In an interview on Jan. 11, Paul said of Trump's actions before the riot, "I think it was irresponsible to encourage people with the false notion that the election could be overturned."

17) Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA)

In a statement issued Jan. 6, Grassley said, "Everyone must take responsibility for their destructive actions yesterday, including the president. As the leader of the nation, the president bears some responsibility for the actions that he inspires — good or bad. Sadly, yesterday he displayed poor leadership in his words and actions, and he must take responsibility."

18) Sen. Joni Ernst (IA)

Ernst said in a statement after attack on the Capitol, "The president did not display good leadership, and I do think he bears some responsibility for what happened. The responsibility also lies with the violent mob who stormed the Capitol, and they should be held accountable to the full extent of the law."

19) Sen. Richard Shelby (AL)

According to the Associated Press, Shelby told reporters during the impeachment trial that he thought impeachment managers had a "strong case" that Trump should have done more to stop the riots.

20) Sen. Tom Cotton (AR)

Cotton said in a statement on Jan. 6, "It's past time for the president to accept the results of the election, quit misleading the American people, and repudiate mob violence."

21) Sen. Mike Lee (UT)

After voting to acquit on Feb. 13, Lee said in a statement, "No one can condone the horrific violence that occurred on January 6, 2021–or President Trump's words, actions, and omissions on that day. I certainly do not."

22) Sen. Thom Tillis (NC)

In a statement issued after he voted to acquit, Tillis said, "The most serious aspect of President Trump's conduct was not necessarily what he said in the lead-up to the attack of the Capitol, but the leadership he failed to provide to put an end to it, and yet the House curiously chose not to file a charge or build their case around this point.

"It is important to note that a not guilty verdict is not the same as being declared innocent. President Trump is most certainly not the victim here; his words and actions were reckless and he shares responsibility for the disgrace that occurred on January 6."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump's Acquittal Does Deep Damage To Our Democracy

One of the most familiar lessons of the Donald Trump era is that no matter how bad today is, tomorrow can always be worse. We learned over and over that there is no bottom to his capacity for outrageous conduct, and there is no limit to his party's tolerance for it.

January 6 was one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the American republic. An incumbent president who had decisively lost his reelection roused his deranged disciples to launch a massive attack on the U.S. Capitol in an effort to keep him in office. It was an attempted coup, nothing less. Lives were lost; members of Congress and their aides were traumatized; and the president who instigated the attack took pleasure in it.

But Saturday's Senate vote to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial was worse. Forty-three duly elected representatives of the people of their states chose to ignore or rationalize his shocking blitzkrieg. They repudiated their sworn duty to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

No American president has been so openly contemptuous of the constraints of the Constitution as Trump. He decided long ago to treat any defeat at the polls as the result of fraud, regardless of the reality. If the democratic processes of our system did not give him what he wanted, he would wage war on them. And he did — starting months before Americans went to the polls and continuing for months afterward.

Any elected government can be hijacked by a skilled and ruthless demagogue. But in the design of our system, Congress is supposed to serve as a counterweight to the president, jealous of its prerogatives and independent of the executive branch. The impeachment power is the ultimate check, allowing legislators to remove any president who abuses his office.

But the impeachment power now has about as much importance as the Third Amendment — which forbids quartering of soldiers in private homes during peacetime. Trump's second acquittal leaves no doubt that for most Republican members of Congress, party comes before country, now and forever.

The framers feared the emergence of political parties and thought the framework they erected would prevent it. In his farewell address, President George Washington declared, "The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it."

Disagreements over religion, government and other matters, wrote James Madison in The Federalist, has often "divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good." A better explanation of Trump's acquittal would be hard to find.

Congressional Republicans, with a handful of noble exceptions, are more than willing to excuse the inexcusable if it comes from a president who shares their partisan affiliation. Maybe they are afraid of the political consequences they would face for breaking with Trump. Maybe they think what he did to advance the GOP agenda — tax cuts, deregulation, conservative judges — is bigger than what he did to sabotage constitutional government.

Maybe some even relish the idea of right-wing extremists terrorizing elected officials to advance Republican policies. Whatever the motive, the damage is deep and possibly irreparable.

The danger produced by this dismal outcome is not so much that Trump will run again in 2024. Chances are good that by then, he will be indicted and convicted for at least one felony, whether for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, solicitation of election fraud, or other crimes. He would have trouble running for president from a correctional institution. Likewise if he decides to flee to a country that has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

The real significance of the Senate's refusal to convict Trump is that it normalizes behavior that once would have been anathema to either political party. It assures his followers that he did nothing wrong. It eats away at the foundation of our form of government. It invites a future Republican president — shrewder and more disciplined than Trump — to install himself permanently in the White House.

It may sound impossible in a republic as long-lasting and resilient as ours. But since January 6, a lot of things that seemed impossible have come to pass. And they have inflicted a wound on our democracy that may never heal.

Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.