Feb 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer: 43 Republicans chose Trump over country

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday accused Republicans who voted to acquit Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial of choosing Trump over country and failing to "summon the courage or the morality to condemn" the former president's actions leading to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege.

Driving the news: Seven Senate Republicans joined all their Democratic and Independent colleagues in the final 57-43 vote, but they failed to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors.

What he's saying: “This was about choosing country over Donald Trump. And 43 Republican members chose Trump ... It should be a weight on their conscience today. And it shall be a weight on their conscience in the future," Schumer said from the Senate floor in his post-trial speech.

  • "This was the first presidential impeachment trial in history in which all senators were not only judges and jurors, but witnesses to the constitutional crime that was committed."
  • "Unable to dispute the case on the merits, the former president's counsel treated us to partisan vitriol, false equivalents, and outright falsehoods."
  • "Essentially, the president's counsel told the Senate that the Constitution was unconstitutional. Thankfully, the Senate took a firm stance, set a firm precedent with a bipartisan vote in favor of our power to try former officials for acts they committed while in office."
  • "If President Trump hadn't told his supporters to march to the Capitol, if he hadn't implored them to come to Washington on January 6 in the first place, if he hadn't repeatedly lied to them that the election was stolen, their country was being taken from them, the attack would not have happened."
  • "The vast majority of the Senate Republican caucus, including the Republican leader, voted to acquit former President Trump, signing their names in the columns of history alongside his name forever. "
  • "The failure to convict Donald Trump will live as a vote of infamy in the history of the United States Senate."
  • "The former president tried to overturn the results of a legitimate election and provoked an assault on our own government, and well over half the Senate Republican conference decided to condone it. The most despicable act that any president has ever committed and the majority of Republicans cannot summon the courage or the morality to condemn it."

Thought bubble via Axios' managing editor for politics, Margaret Talev: Schumer was balancing calls to put testimony on the historical record against a near certainty that Trump would be acquitted — and against a desire to clear the path for Biden to be able to govern by getting nominees confirmed and a COVID relief package debates and votes on in the coming weeks.

Go deeper: McConnell votes to acquit, then condemns Trump for Capitol siege

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