A Democrat senator on Tuesday said he was dropping his proposal to censure former President Donald Trump as an alternative to an impeachment trial, which a number of lawmakers have painted as a waste of time because he’s likely to be acquitted.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who floated the alternative path, told reporters in Washington that there wasn’t enough support for the censure proposal.
“We don’t have enough support on the Republican side because they don’t want to bar Trump from running from office [sic], and I don’t have enough support on the Democratic side because, for most of my colleagues, it’s impeachment or nothing,” Kaine said.
The Virginian expressed hope the proposal gets enough support once the trial starts next week.
“Maybe Republicans will see some evidence in that trial where they’ll say … ‘Even if I’m not voting to convict, this is repulsive.’ Maybe some Democrats will say, ‘Boy, we’re not going to get the votes to convict, we need to come up with something else,'” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a separate briefing said he wants to convict Trump but left open the possibility of censuring the ex-president.
“I think the president should be tried. I hope he will vote to be convicted. Anything past that is something we can discuss, but he deserves conviction nothing less,” he told reporters when asked about a censure.
A supermajority is required to convict Trump. Only 40 senators, all Democrats, have said they’ll definitely vote to convict. Forty-five Republicans voted last month for a point of order declaring the trial unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office. Most of those have said or suggested they’ll vote to acquit Trump.
“Based on the information I have right now, I voted today and will vote again later in the impeachment trial to dismiss the impeachment proceedings against former President Trump. Additionally, these proceedings, in part, represent a thinly veiled effort by the uber-elites in our country, who look down on most Americans, to denigrate further those people who chose to vote for President Trump and not vote for President Biden,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), one of the 45, said in a statement after the vote.
“The first chance I get to end this trial, I’ll vote for it,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told reporters at the Capitol on Jan. 27.
Nine Democrats and 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have said they’re open to convicting Trump or haven’t ruled it out, according to an Epoch Times tally.
That group includes Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
“As he has done in ALL past impeachment proceedings, Senator Crapo is withholding comment until after the Senate trial,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email. A spokesperson for Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) added, “He has not committed to his vote in advance of the trial.”
The stances of two members of the upper chamber, Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) remain unclear. Their offices didn’t return requests for comment.