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These conservatives are convinced Trump's grip on the GOP will fade — here's why

February 15, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Over the weekend, former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial ended in an acquittal when the majority of Republican senators refused to convict him. The “guilty” votes included seven Republicans and all 50 Senate Democrats, which was still ten votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction.

Some of Trump’s devotees in the right-wing media have been claiming that the former president has once again triumphed over a “partisan witch hunt,” but two conservative opinion pieces — one by the Wall Street journal’s editorial board, the other by Washington Post columnist George Will — stress that Trump’s acquittal was far from a total vindication and that he will not win a second term in 2024.

Trump was facing an article of impeachment for “incitement for insurrection” because of his actions on Jan. 6, when a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol Building. Rep. Jamie Raskin and other Democratic impeachment managers presented extensive evidence that Trump encouraged the mob; Trump’s impeachment lawyers claimed that he never asked the rioters to resort to violence and urged them to be nonviolent.

WSJ’s editorial board notes, “Seven Republicans joined every Democrat in the most bipartisan conviction vote in history. While short of the 67 votes needed to convict, most Republicans didn’t defend Mr. Trump’s words or actions on Jan. 6 or his attempts to overturn the election. As we’ve written before, Mr. Trump’s behavior was inexcusable and will mar his legacy for all time. That was the essence of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s post-trial remarks.”

Although Senate Minority Leader McConnell voted “not guilty,” he was vehemently critical of Trump when the trial concluded. McConnell’s issue with the trial wasn’t the case that Raskin and other Democrats presented against the former president; rather, McConnell made a procedural argument, saying that it was unconstitutional to have an impeachment trial for a former president.

“The GOP leader voted against conviction but explicitly because he said the Constitution reserves the impeachment power only for presidents while in office,” the WSJ’s editorial board explains. “Scholars disagree on this point, and there are good arguments on both sides.”

Regardless, the editorial board notes that McConnell was “lacerating” in his criticism of Trump and emphasizes that the former president will not be winning a second term in 2024.

“Mr. Trump may run again, but he won’t win another national election,” the WSJ’s editorial board writes. “He …read more


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