Sen. Bill Cassidy is the latest Republican to be rebuked or censured by the party for voting against Donald Trump's interests.
On Tuesday, the first day of Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, six Republican senators voted alongside their Democratic colleagues on the constitutionality of the impeachment proceedings before them, with one, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, changing his vote from the first time such a vote was taken in January.
Cassidy had previously stood against the constitutionality of the trial in a vote pushed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last month. Asked by a reporter Tuesday about his change of heart, Cassidy answered that impartiality and the effectiveness of the arguments made by House managers at the top of the trial required him to change his vote.
"I said I'd be an impartial juror," Cassidy said. "Anyone listening to those arguments, the House managers were focused, they were organized, they relied upon both precedent, the Constitution, and legal scholars. They made a compelling argument."
Saying that Trump's legal team was "disorganized" and "did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand," Cassidy noted,
And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments. Now if I'm an impartial juror, and one side's doing a great job and the other side's doing a terrible job on the issue at hand, as an impartial juror, I'm going to vote for the side that did the good job.
The Louisiana Republican Party was quick to rebuke Cassidy for casting a vote to support continuing Trump's Senate trial on one charge of incitement of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, issuing a statement that read,
The Republican Party of Louisiana is profoundly disappointed by Senator Bill Cassidy's vote on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial now underway against former President, now private citizen, Donald J. Trump. We feel that an impeachment trial of a private citizen is not only an unconstitutional act, but also an attack on the very foundation of American democracy, which will have far reaching and unforeseen consequences for our republic.
Every Democrat in the House of Representatives along with 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13. On Tuesday, besides Cassidy, the five other Senate Republicans who voted to support the constitutionality of the trial were Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Several Republican senators, including Texas' Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, criticized Trump's legal team for their ineffective arguments and lack of preparation; both Cruz and Cornyn ultimately voted against holding the trial.
Cassidy is the latest in a long line of Republican lawmakers to be rebuked or censured by their state and local Republican parties for voting against Trump's interests.
On Sunday, the Lincoln County Republican Party of Nebraska voted unanimously to censure Sasse for "failure to respect the high office of the President of the United States" and "dismissing the legitimate concerns" of Nebraskans about false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Sasse has been the only Republican senator to openly say he might vote for Trump's conviction.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House, was censured by the Wyoming Republican Party for voting to impeach Trump in a resolution passed by a vote of 56 to 8. The resolution stated that the party would no longer raise money on her behalf and asked that she repay any money raised for her 2020 campaign by state and county chapters.
In response, Cheney issued a statement saying, "I'm honored to represent the people of Wyoming in Congress and will always fight for the issues that matter most to our state. Foremost among these is the defense of our Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees."
This week, the Michigan Republican Party's 3rd Congressional District Committee deadlocked at 11 to 11 over censuring Rep. Peter Meijer for his vote to impeach Trump.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who has been censured by the central committee of the LaSalle County Republican Party and faces the same from the Winnebago County Republican Party, says he doesn't regret his vote to impeach.
"I understand there is going to be backlash when you make a decision like that. I felt backlash from family. I felt backlash from friends. I felt backlash from constituents," Kinzinger said Tuesday. "If I would have voted against impeachment, I would have regretted it forever. ... I'm at total peace. I have zero regrets whatsoever."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.