Feb 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Republicans face party punishment back home for questioning Trump's role in Capitol attack

 Sen. Bill Cassidy speaks speaks to reporters after the second day of the Senate Impeachment trials for former President Donald Trump
Sen. Bill Cassidy. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Republicans in Congress are facing backlash in their home states for questioning former President Donald Trump's involvement in the Jan 6. assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The big picture: State and county Republican apparatuses throughout the country are punishing those in their own party who want to hold the former president accountable, signaling that Trump's grasp on the GOP remains unfaded.

Sen. Bill Cassidy is the latest member to receive condemnation after the Louisiana senator sided with Democrats on a vote over the constitutionality to impeach a former president.

  • Cassidy voted in favor of the constitutionality of the impeachment trial and then told reporters Monday he thought House managers made a better argument and the former president's counsel was "disorganized."
  • The Baton Rouge Republican Party said his vote "was a betrayal of the people of Louisiana and a rebuke to those who supported President Trump.”

The Wyoming Republican Party censured Rep. Liz Cheney after she voted to impeach Trump last month. Cheney is the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.

  • Rep. Tom Rice was censured by the South Carolina Republican Party for his vote to impeach Trump.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger was censured by the LaSalle County, Illinois, Republican Central Committee.
  • Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler were both chastised by the Washington State Republican Party.
  • Rep. Fred Upton was censured by the Allegan County Republican Party and the Cass Country Republican Party in the state of Michigan.
  • Rep. Peter Meijer dodged a censure resolution after a Michigan GOP committee deadlocked on the issue.
  • Rep. David Valadao has managed to avoid censure in California thus far, but both he and Meijer immediately drew challengers for their votes to impeach the president.

Of note: The Arizona Republican Party censured three high-profile party figures who have clashed with Trump in the past.

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was censured for his decision to implement strict emergency rules during the pandemic, a practice Trump often discouraged, and he also endured tirades from Trump after he didn't overturn Biden's win in the state, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.
  • The state party also censured former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, who have both condemned the former president.
Go deeper