The Republican senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump were quick to explain their thinking.
Trump was acquitted on charges of incitement of insurrection on Saturday, with a 57-43 Senate vote including seven Republicans who favored conviction. Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) voted to convict, even though Burr and Cassidy had previously voted that the Senate does not have the jurisdiction to try an official once they no longer hold office.
Cassidy kept his explanation short and sweet:
Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty. pic.twitter.com/ute0xPc4BH
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) February 13, 2021
Burr meanwhile argued “the evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting and insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Contradicting other Republicans’ arguments that the trial was unconstitutional and therefore Trump must be acquitted, Burr said: “The Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority of the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent.”
Both lawmakers were quickly denounced by their respective state party organizations. The North Carolina Republican Party called Burr’s vote “shocking and disappointing,” while the Republican Party of Louisiana said it condemned Cassidy’s vote “in the strongest possible terms.”