Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Now THREE Republican Senators have been censured for voting to convict Trump: Pat Toomey, Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy are punished by their own party - while Utah's GOP sparks fury by backing Mitt Romney

 Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina was formally reprimanded by his state Republican party on Monday night after he voted to convict Donald Trump - making him the third of the seven Republicans who turned on their former president to be punished.

All three have been formally censured - a censure from the party being essentially a public reprimand that lets party activists voice their disapproval. 

Three more are likely to be censured, with only Lisa Murkowski of Alaska expected to escape the reprimand from her state party, while it's uncertain if Utah's GOP leaders will bend to a petition to censure Romney.

The seven senators - Barr, Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana - all knew they risked angering some voters by opting to impeach Trump. 

Some Republicans in Romney's state of Utah accused him of having 'embarrassed' them, claiming he is not representing their interests but is instead an 'agent of the deep state' and have started an online petition for a censure motion.

The leaders of Utah's Republican party, however, put out a statement saying they're not behind the effort and that they support a 'diversity of thought.'

Richard Burr, who is stepping down in 2022, was censured by his party on Monday night

Richard Burr, who is stepping down in 2022, was censured by his party on Monday night

Bill Cassidy, Republican senator for Louisiana, was censured immediately after his vote

Bill Cassidy, Republican senator for Louisiana, was censured immediately after his vote

Pat Toomey, Republican senator for Pennsylvania, has been censured by his state party

Pat Toomey, Republican senator for Pennsylvania, has been censured by his state party

Meanwhile, Cassidy was censured formally by his party on Saturday, and Toomey shortly after.

'I have no illusions that this is a popular decision,' Cassidy wrote in a column published on Sunday.

'I made this decision because Americans should not be fed lies about 'massive election fraud.' Police should not be left to the mercy of a mob. 

'Mobs should not be inflamed to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.'


Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said the senator's vote is 'extremely disappointing' and claimed that Cassidy has 'fallen into the trap laid by Democrats to have Republicans attack Republicans'.

One of Toomey's districts, Clarion County, called their senator's impeachment vote 'a purely self-serving vindictive and punitive action by those with establishment political objectives,' in a document obtained by The Hill

Burr and Toomey have both already announced that they are stepping down in 2022.

Murkowski is not facing an imminent censure from her party.

Romney, who was the lone Republican to vote for Trump's impeachment in February 2020, was facing a backlash from some constituents.

Mitt Romney of Utah is the only Republican senator who voted to impeach Trump twice

Mitt Romney of Utah is the only Republican senator who voted to impeach Trump twice

Ben Sasse of Nebraska is among the six senators likely to face censure for his vote

Ben Sasse of Nebraska is among the six senators likely to face censure for his vote

Senator Bill Cassidy explains why he voted to convict Trump
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Some in Utah accuse him, in a censure motion being circulated online among Republicans, of being 'an agent for the Establishment Deep State.'

They argue that Romney failed to 'represent the average conservative Utah Republican voter' and say he is not true to the party, accusing him of having 'misrepresented himself as a Republican,' when he ran for office.

The Utah Republican Party's top leaders are not behind this effort, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Monday. 

The party issued a statement on Monday pointing out that Romney and Utah's other senator, Mike Lee, voted differently.

'The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on 'unanimity of thought,'' they wrote. 

'There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.'

Yet the draft censure of Romney from rank-and-file Republicans is fierce in its criticism. 

It says Romney 'embarrassed the State of Utah' when he was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial.

They concludes Romney used his 'senatorial power and influence to undermine' Trump.

Of the seven Republican senators who sided with Democrats on impeachment, only the 48-year-old Sasse is viewed as still aspiring to higher office. 

Sasse is, in effect, betting there is a political future in trying to fight for the comeback of the establishment Republican party. 

On Thursday, he issued a pre-emptive Facebook video.

'I'm not going to spend any time trying to talk you out of another censure,' Sasse said, referencing a previous censure in March 2016 for his criticism of Trump. 

'I listen to Nebraskans every day, and very few of them are as angry about life as some of the people on this committee — not all of you, but a lot. 

'Political addicts don't represent most Nebraska conservatives.' 

He added: 'Politics isn't about the weird worship of one dude.' 

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is not believed to be facing a motion to censure her for her vote

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is not believed to be facing a motion to censure her for her vote

Susan Collins of Maine is also facing censure
Collins is one of seven senators voting against Trump

Susan Collins of Maine is also facing calls from her own party to be censured for her vote

Senator Collins delivers statement during impeachment trial
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Murkowski, one of two women to vote to convict, is not believed to be facing censure. 

In a lengthy statement on Sunday, she outlined the case against Trump, adding that if the evidence 'is not worthy of impeachment, conviction, and disqualification from holding office in the United States, I cannot imagine what is'.

Collins, however, has angered many Republicans in Maine. 

Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage confirmed to News Center Maine that county GOP chairs would meet on Monday to consider punishment, but said any comment will wait until 'after matters are discussed by the county chairs.'

Helen Tutwiler, the chair for the Kennebec County Republican Committee, told News Center Maine that she knows 'a lot of people' are 'asking the GOP to do something'.  

'What exactly that is, I'm not sure,' she added.

Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas told members in a Saturday email obtained by Bangor Daily News that 'many of you are upset after what happened today, as are we' and 'to be prepared for an emergency state committee meeting in the near future' to discuss Collins's vote.

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