No, no, no, no. Not at all, said Republican #2 when asked if he could defend what Trump did. The way he behaved after the election, both in terms of what he said publicly and what he tried to do to change the outcome, no.
But like other Republicans, Towne has no clear answer to that important question: What should they do with Trump after he lied to his supporters about stealing the election, the January 6 rally in Washington and encouraging protesters to go to Capitol Hill, which they then turned into a deadly riot?
That’s a good question, said Towne, who is running for re-election next year in South Dakota. One way, of course, is through the courts.
When the indictment against Trump began on the 9th. In early February, Senate Republicans criticized him for doing nothing about his actions, hoping to put some distance between them and the former president without casting a single vote that might provoke a reaction from Trump and his loyal supporters. Many people say we should do something about what Trump did, but they don’t.
When asked about Trump’s actions in relation to the riots of the 6. January on Capitol Hill, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the GOP leadership: I’m not going to defend her.
I think he’s already been indicted in the court of public opinion, Cornyn said when asked if the Senate should take action, arguing that it would set a dangerous precedent for convicting the former president.
The rhetoric shows the divisions between Republicans in the House and Senate as the party struggles to find its voice after the tumultuous era of the Atout. Many Republicans in the House of Representatives remain strong supporters of Trump, saying he has done nothing wrong and should not be blamed for the violence on Capitol Hill.
President Trump has no January 6 attack on the Capitol cause, young Marjorie Taylor Green, a controversial Georgia Republican, told her supporters this week.
A majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives supported efforts to thwart President Joe Biden’s election victories in two key states, while few did so in the Senate. After California GOP House of Representatives leader Kevin McCarthy again criticized Trump and traveled to South Florida Thursday to meet with the former president, McCarthy lost his nerve and announced that they are united in the fight to win back the House next year. Back in Washington, Senate President Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, made it clear that he has been a Republican since the 15th Congressional District. December hasn’t spoken to Trump since, and we don’t know if he ever will.
However, Senate Republicans who voted to indict Trump for inciting rebellion have faced strong backlash from the right and are aware that they risk the same fate if they vote to convict next month. And McConnell, who told colleagues privately that he thinks Trump has committed an unrepentant crime, refused to say so publicly when CNN asked him about it Tuesday – and then agreed this week with Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul on a procedural motion to end the trial on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
Only five Republicans voted for Paul’s proposal. Paul told CNN that he briefed the Republican caucus on his plans the day before the vote, quickly rallying most Republicans to their message that the Senate has no role in holding a trial after the president leaves office.
Of the five people who voted against Paul’s initiative, one resigned (Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania), three did not say whether they voted for Trump in November or voted for someone else (Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska) and another voted to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial (Senator Mitt Romney of Utah). Some have argued that there is precedent for the Senate to try former federal officials, a key point that Democratic leaders want to bring up in the indictment.
But after the vote earlier this week, both parties agree that there is virtually no way to get the 67 votes needed to censure Trump and remove him from office, since Democrats only have 50 seats in the House of Representatives.
I’ve already condemned them, said Senator Bill Cassidy of the Louisiana GOP when asked if he could defend Trump’s actions.
Asked what Republicans should do about it, Cassidy said: In our country we have what is called a fair trial, and we have what is called a kangaroo court. We don’t need a kangaroo dish.
Senator Mike Brown first drew objections to the Electoral College results in Arizona, but then dropped them after insurgents stormed Capitol Hill. But he’s also doing the GOP dance in the Senate: He criticizes Trump and says he won’t be convicted.
I think it would be very difficult for most people to say that there is no connection between Trump’s actions and the deadly violence, Brown said. But the Indiana Republican said he was concerned about convicting a person who is no longer in office. To me, this sets a terrible precedent. He’s not here, he’s a private citizen.
Asked how they should now hold Trump accountable, Mr Brown replied: I think he will be held accountable for the way people treat him, for what he does in the future.
CNN’s Aaron Pellish contributed to this report.