The insurrection at the Capitol and Trump’s unsteadiness have weakened GOP support in the Senate
In President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial early last year, Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican vote in favor of conviction. That seems unlikely to be the case should there be another such vote.
Romney has voiced his anger over the Wednesday invasion of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, many of whom were violent. Having voted for removal last year, he’s an odds-on favorite to do so again, alongside, at least publicly, a mere handful of other Republicans.
Across the aisle, so far no prospective defectors have arisen publicly.
“In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?” Romney asked his fellow senators when the Senate reconvened after the hours-long interruption Wednesday.
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Since then, a few — but far short of the 17 that would be needed — Senate Republicans have expressed either outright support for impeachment or openness to the idea.
“I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, told the Anchorage Daily News Saturday.
Murkowski has often parted ways with her fellow Republicans, carving out a more moderate path for herself. She’s also been a prominent member of a bipartisan Senate group that has weighed in on both coronavirus stimulus as well as the certification of the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden.
“Donald Trump has acted shamefully. He has been in flagrant dereliction of his duty. And he will be remembered for having inciting this and having drawn more division into an already divided people,” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said Friday on “CBS This Morning.”
“I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said of the possibility the House will approve articles of impeachment.
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said he thought Trump’s actions amounted to offenses worthy of impeachment, though he said he was unsure whether one could be convicted of an impeachment charge after they have left office, as Trump would likely to be if the House sends over impeachment articles.
“I think the president did commit impeachable offenses. There’s little doubt in my mind about that,” Toomey said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
On the Democratic side, one House member initially identified as reluctant to push the ejection button quickly changed his tune.
Rep. Kurt Schrader, a Democratic House member representing a conservative area of Oregon, had been reported Friday by ABC as comparing the move to impeach Trump to a “lynching” during a caucus conference call. He later apologized for his choice of words and tweeted that he supports impeachment as “the tool before us” and one whose use is “warranted” by Trump’s actions.