GOP senators face punishment for impeachment vote

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The GOP senators who joined with Democrats in finding former President Donald Trump guilty of the charge of incitement of insurrection are now facing backlash back home for their votes, as Republicans in their states consider formal condemnations of the senators.

Already, two of the seven Republicans who broke with the former president — Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — have been formally rebuked by their respective state GOPs. The North Carolina Republican Party voted unanimously Monday to censure Burr for his vote to convict Trump, while the Louisiana GOP approved a censure of Cassidy in a vote Saturday, acting swiftly after the Senate trial ended.

In Pennsylvania, the head of the state Republican Party, Lawrence Tabas, notified members of the Republican State Committee in an email Saturday that he would be calling a meeting to “address issues and consider action” related to the Senate’s impeachment vote, according to two GOP county chairs. While the email did not specify a date for the meeting nor mention Sen. Pat Toomey by name, multiple state committee members said they felt it referred to him.

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has also found himself a target of the state GOP for denouncing Trump after the January 6 assault on the Capitol. A censure resolution drafted before the Senate began its trial admonishes Sasse for criticizing the former president on numerous occasions, according to a copy posted by News Channel Nebraska.

The Republican Party of Nebraska was set to hold its vote to censure Sasse on Saturday, but it was delayed due to weather.

The Maine Republican Party, too, is weighing whether to condemn Sen. Susan Collins for her vote to convict Trump, according to the Bangor Daily News.

It’s unclear whether the Alaska GOP will move to punish Sen. Lisa Murkowski for opposing the former president. The Utah Republican Party, meanwhile, noted its two senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, voted differently in the impeachment trial, but said “as 2021 begins, we look neither to the past, nor to be punitive.” Romney voted to convict Trump, while Lee voted to acquit.

“The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought,'” the Utah GOP said in a statement. “There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.”

The seven Republicans joined with all 50 Senate Democrats to convict Trump of the House’s charge of incitement of insurrection for his role in the Capitol attack. The former president was acquitted, however, as the 57-43 vote failed to clear the two-thirds threshold for conviction.

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

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