From today’s Washington Post:
All but five Republican senators backed former president Donald Trump on Tuesday in a key test vote ahead of his impeachment trial, signaling that the proceedings are likely to end with Trump’s acquittal on the charge that he incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
West Virginia’s Republican senator, Shelley Moore Capito, was not one of the five. From her congressional website, here is her reasoning:
“My vote today to dismiss the article of impeachment is based on the fact that impeachment was designed to remove an officeholder from public office. The Constitution does not give Congress the power to impeach a private citizen. This charge is directed at an individual who no longer holds public office. I believe it is time we focus our attention and energies on the numerous challenges our country presently faces. Instead of taking a path of divisiveness, let us heed the call to unity that we have heard spoken so often over the past few weeks.”
(You can do your own research, but most of the analysis that I’ve seen, believes that an out-of-office Trump could be convicted and prohibited from ever holding federal office.)
It continues to amaze me how Capito and most of the Republican Party continue to support Trump. On Monday, Politico explained why that might be the case:
Trump sends a message to Senate Republicans ahead of his trial
With a subtitle:
The ex-president could seek vengeance on GOP senators if they break with him on impeachment and vote to convict.
Interestingly, the article quoted Capito:
It’s become a common adage within the Senate GOP that if the trial had occurred on Jan. 7, Trump might have seen a flood of Republicans looking to make a clean break with him. But now the final vote might not take place until late February — and the number of GOP senators truly weighing whether to convict the president is likely short of the 17 needed to join all 50 Democrats.
“A lot of people made strong statements, and I put myself in the category, of what the president’s role was, particularly right after Jan. 6 happened. And the disappointment and shock,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). “And I suppose as time goes on the political considerations begin to weigh in.”
But she added that something more vivid is on many senators’ minds.
“It’s more a function of being seated on the Senate floor as an insurrection is rising behind you,” she said. “You can hear it and watch the vice president be whisked out.”
Apparently that was not enough, however, as Capito joined 44 of her Republican colleagues in their effort to dismiss the impeachment trial.
For contrast, here was Senator Joe Manchin’s reaction:
By the way, Donald Trump had no trouble with the possibility of impeaching an out-of-office Barack Obama. Here is what Trump said at a political rally in 2019:
Remember Obama? 28 times, “You can have your doctor, you can have your plan.” Didn’t work out that way, did it? I think we should impeach him for that. Let’s impeach him, for that, for the IRS scandal, for the guns.