WASHINGTON — Seven Republicans voted Saturday to convict former President Donald Trump in his Senate trial, easily the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings.
While lawmakers voted 57-43 to find Trump guilty, the evenly divided Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to convict an impeached president
But by joining all 50 Democrats who voted against Trump, the seven GOP senators created a clear majority against him and provided a bipartisan chorus of condemnation of the former president. Trump was acquitted of inciting an insurrection for riling up a crowd of his supporters before they attacked the U.S. Capitol last month.
“If I can’t say what I believe that our president should stand for, then why should I ask Alaskans to stand with me,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told reporters.
Besides Murkowski, others voting to find Trump guilty were GOP Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Romney’s “guilty” vote at Trump’s initial impeachment trial last February made him the first senator to ever vote to convict a president of the same party. The trial that ended Saturday was Trump’s second — making him the first president to ever be tried twice for impeachment — and the fourth in presidential history.
Presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999 were acquitted and received unanimous support from their Democratic Party.
Most of the defecting Republicans had clashed with Trump over the years. Burr and Toomey have said they will retire and not seek reelection when their terms expire next year.
Cassidy had initially sided with the vast majority of Republicans who voted last month to block the trial from moving forward. But he blasted a shambolic performance by Trump’s legal team at the start of the trial while praising Democrats for presenting a compelling case.
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Cassidy said in a one-sentence statement issued after his vote to convict.
Sasse has long criticized Trump’s authoritarian tone. Last week he excoriated pro-Trump Republican Party officials in his home state, telling them in a video message that “politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude.”
“I promised to speak out when a president – even of my own party – exceeds his or her powers,” Sasse said Saturday. “I cannot go back on my word … simply because it is politically convenient.”