In the Senate’s 57-43 vote on Saturday on former President Donald Trump’s charge that he incited an insurrection that led to a riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, seven Republicans voted to convict.
Afterward, the seven explained their votes.
Mitt Romney of Utah
Romney, who has repeatedly clashed with Trump, was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump in both of his impeachment trials in the Senate.
“After careful consideration of the respective counsels’ arguments, I have concluded that President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives,” Romney said in a statement. “He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day. President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction.”
The failed 2012 GOP presidential candidate also said Trump “incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes.”
“Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction,” Romney said.
Susan Collins of Maine
Collins, a longtime moderate Republican, was been critical of Trump throughout his four years in office and declared him guilty after the Senate trial.
“In this situation, context was everything. Tossing a lit match into a pile of dry leaves is very different from tossing it in to a pool of water, and on January 6th the atmosphere among the crowd outside the White House was highly combustible,” Collins said in a floor speech after her vote to convict.
“Instead of preventing a dangerous situation, President Trump created one. And rather than defend the Constitutional transfer of power, he incited an insurrection with the purpose of preventing that transfer of power from occurring,” she added.
And she said her vote against Trump “stems from my own oath and duty to defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Ben Sasse of Nebraska
Sasse, another regular critic of the president, voted with Democrats to deem the trial constitutional on the first day of the trial.
In a statement after the vote, Sasse ripped Democrats, but also criticized the former president and said he believed it was his duty to convict.
“I promised Nebraskans I’d always vote my conscience even if it was against the partisan stream. In my first speech here in the Senate in November 2015, I promised to speak out when a president — even of my own party — exceeds his or her powers. I cannot go back on my word, and Congress cannot lower our standards on such a grave matter, simply because it is politically convenient,” he said. “I must vote to convict.”
“I’d always vote my conscience even if it was against the partisan stream,” he said.
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Toomey is retiring from the Senate next year, and told reporters that the vote to convict was the “right call.”
“I was one of the 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump, in part because of the many accomplishments of his administration. Unfortunately, his behavior after the election betrayed the confidence millions of us placed in him,” he wrote on Twitter.
“As a result of President Trump’s actions, for the first time in American history, the transfer of presidential power was not peaceful. A lawless attempt to retain power by a president was one of the founders’ greatest fears motivating the inclusion of the impeachment authorities in the U.S. Constitution,” Toomey said in a statement, noting that he’d voted for Trump’s re-election. “His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.”
Richard Burr of North Carolina
Burr, like Toomey, is retiring next year, and while he voted to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional, he said he made his final decision to vote to convict based on the facts of the trial.
“As I said on January 6th, the president bears responsibility for these tragic events. The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Burr said in a statement. “I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary.”
“The president bears responsibility for these tragic events,” Burr said. “The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a co-equal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’”
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Murkowski, like Collins, is a moderate Republican who has also been critical of Trump. She said she her vote to convict was a matter of conscience.
“It’s not about me and my life, my job. This is really about what we stand for,” Murkowski said. “I’m sure that there are many Alaskans that are very dissatisfied with my vote. And I’m sure that there are many Alaskans that are proud of my vote.”
“The evidence that has been presented thus far is pretty damning,” she said this week.
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
Cassidy, who was re-elected last year, voted with most Republicans that the Senate does have the power to convict a former president. But he then voted to convict.
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” Cassidy said in a 10-second video posted on Twitter. “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
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
In an interview on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Cassidy laid out in depth the reason for his vote.
“If you describe … insurrection, as I did, it’s an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, we can see the president for two months after the election promoting that the election was stolen, people still tell me they think Dominion rigged those machines, with Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, that is not true, and all the news organizations that promoted that have retracted.”
“He then scheduled the rally for January 6th, just when the transfer of power was to take place. And he brought together a crowd, but a portion of that was transformed into a mob. And when they went into the Capitol, it was clear that he wished that lawmakers be intimidated. And even after he knew there was violence taking place, he continued to basically sanction the mob being there. And not until later did he actually ask them to leave,” Cassidy said.
“All of that points to a motive and a method and that is wrong, he should be held accountable.”