“It’s counterproductive,” Rubio said on Sunday, according to an interview with Fox News. “We already have a flaming fire in this country, and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.”
He added, “Second, I look back at a time, for example, Richard Nixon, who had clearly committed crimes and wrongdoing, and in hindsight I think we would all agree that President Ford’s pardon was important for the country to be able to move forward. And history held Richard Nixon quite accountable for what he did as a result.”
Trump was impeached in the House earlier this month. All Democrats and around 10 Republicans voted to impeach him over his speech on Jan. 6 before a group breached the U.S. Capitol building, although Trump never called for violence and later said he believed his comments were appropriate.
“All I’m arguing is we have some really important things to work on. … We’re gonna jump right back into what we’ve been going through for the last five years, and stirring it up again with a trial, and it’s just going to be bad for the country,” Rubio said Sunday.
Some Democratic lawmakers have said that Trump should be convicted in the Senate because that would prevent him from being able to run for the presidency again, although some constitutional law experts have said that an impeachment trial of a former president goes against the Constitution.
“I think that’s an arrogant statement for anyone to make. Voters get to decide that. Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Rubio said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have confirmed that the article of impeachment will be transmitted from the House to the Senate on Monday. Schumer, in a floor speech, stated that the forthcoming trial is not unconstitutional.
Rubio, meanwhile, said that he hopes the GOP pivots to policies that Trump promoted.
“The GOP is the party that nominated Donald Trump and the reason why it did—and ultimately got him elected, and he got 75 million votes—is because you have tens of millions of Americans that feel this economy isn’t working for people like them, that feel socially displaced, even like strangers in their own country,” Rubio said.
Rubio added that “I hope we can do it in a way that keeps the people who believe we’re fighting for them and brings back some of the people that perhaps didn’t vote for Republicans or didn’t vote for the president because they may not like, you know, the way it was said or the way it was done.”