In what has become a national trend, state-level Republican Party leaders in North Carolina and Louisiana have censured, respectively, Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy. Their offense? Accepting reality and standing up for democracy by voting to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Burr and Cassidy were among seven Senate Republicans and 10 House Republicans who voted to put country above party and uphold their oaths to the Constitution.
They may be taking heat from the GOP extremists back home, but America should honor them as statesmen.
Many, perhaps most, political disputes are about issues on which reasonable people can disagree. Trump’s culpability for the attack isn’t among them.
His actions before, during and after the insurrection were utterly indefensible and inherently impeachable.
He spent two months spreading the Big Lie that he was robbed of victory in the Nov. 3 election.
He whipped up his supporters at a rally just before the incursion, imploring them to “fight like hell” to stop certification of the election.
He told the rioters during the chaos, “We love you” and “You’re very special.” And he publicly condemned his own vice president, Mike Pence, even as the insurrectionists scoured the Capitol looking for Pence as a noose and gallows awaited outside.
Trump’s actions directly spurred the attack, which cost five lives, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Yet Republican Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley and all six Republican House members from Missouri, along with the vast majority of GOP lawmakers in both chambers, voted Saturday that Trump should face no impeachment consequences whatsoever.
History will not be kind.
But it will smile on Burr and Cassidy, along with GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
These senators each voted to convict Trump — making it the most bipartisan Senate conviction vote of any impeachment proceeding in U.S. history — after 10 GOP House members joined Democrats in sending the case to the Senate: Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, Peter Meijer of Michigan, John Katko of New York and David Valadao of California.
America needs two vibrant parties for its politics to function.
Right now, one of those parties has been commandeered by such off-the-rails extremists that it can’t even hold a president accountable for literally endangering the lives of members of Congress in his effort to overturn a free and fair election.
These 17 Republican profiles in courage are, right now, being treated like pariahs in their own party.
They should instead be templates for the party’s future.
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch