The fallout from the impeachment trial is still going on. Some of the seven Republicans who voted with the Democrats to convict Donald Trump are facing a backlash from their state parties. Senator Bill Cassidy was censured by the Louisiana state GOP over the weekend and last night North Carolina Senator Richard Burr joined the club. The Republican Party committee in the Tar Heel State voted unanimously last night to censure him over his decision to vote to convict the former president. A statement from the committee declared that Burr had acted in an unconstitutional fashion. (CNN)
The North Carolina Republican Party central committee voted Monday to censure Sen. Richard Burr for his vote to convict former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial — a move that made him the latest GOP senator to be reprimanded by his state party for siding with Democrats in the trial.
The result was expected, given the swift Republican anger toward the senator on Saturday after he cast his guilty vote. Among Burr’s critics is state party chairman Michael Whatley, who called the senator’s decision “shocking and disappointing.”
In a statement released after the vote, the committee members said the unanimous vote was aimed at punishing Burr for his “vote to convict former President Trump in the impeachment trial which he declared to be unconstitutional.”
In response, Burr said that Monday “was truly a sad day for North Carolina Republicans.” He further accused the state party leadership of choosing “loyalty to one man over the core principles of the Republican Party.”
Burr had already announced that he wasn’t running for another term in 2022, so he doesn’t need to worry about being primaried or booted out of office. But in a way, he really did bring this on himself. I’m not a fan of censuring members of Congress for casting votes. That’s their job after all. But Burr put himself in a tenuous situation by originally voting against the idea of holding a trial, saying that it was unconstitutional. He then turned around and voted to convict in a process that he himself had declared to be invalid. That appears to be the basis for the censure and it’s not without merit.
Burr and Cassidy likely won’t be alone at this particular lunch table. In Pennsylvania, three different county Republican Party committees have already voted to censure Pat Toomey. The state GOP plans on meeting today to consider the same rebuke.
Pennsylvania’s Republican Party is planning a meeting to potentially censure U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey amid a growing GOP backlash over his vote to convict Donald Trump during the former president’s second impeachment trial, county party officials said Monday.
County party chairs said the state GOP chairman, Lawrence Tabas, emailed them shortly after Saturday’s impeachment vote to tell them that a meeting is being planned to discuss the Senate’s action.
Toomey’s situation is a bit different because, unlike Burr, he voted to support the constitutionality of the trial before voting to convict. In that sense, he was at least consistent. Further, as with Burr, Toomey has also announced that he won’t be running for another term in the Senate. That seems to be a pattern at this point. Members who come from states where there is strong party support for Donald Trump knew that there would be a political price to pay, possibly costing them their seats if they voted to convict the ex-president. But those who were already on the way out the door felt free to jump on the impeachment bandwagon.
Donald Trump may be gone from office, but his influence is still being felt across the entire Republican Party. This is pretty much the opposite of what we saw with George W Bush. After he left office, he largely disappeared from the scene and was rarely heard from for many years. The Party just seemed ready to move on after eight years of his administration. The same can’t be said of Trump, or at least not yet.