Impeachment blowback: NC GOP vote unanimously to censure Sen. Burr … Maine’s Collins may be next

Rank and file Republicans are angry over votes to convict former President Donald Trump at last week’s impeachment trial – and not just at Democrats.

The North Carolina Republican Party voted on Monday to censure GOP Sen. Richard Burr for being one of seven Republicans to side with all Senate Democrats in voting to convict Trump on Saturday.

“Tonight, the North Carolina Republican Party Central Committee voted unanimously to censure Senator Richard Burr for his vote to convict former President Trump in the impeachment trial which he declared to be unconstitutional,” the party’s executive panel declared in a statement. “The NCGOP agrees with the strong majority of Republicans in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that the Democrat-led attempt to impeach a former President lies outside the United States Constitution.”

“Now that the Senate has voted to acquit President Trump, we hope that Democrats will set aside their divisive partisan agenda and focus on the American priorities of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, safely reopening schools and restarting the economy,” the party added.

The action was likely predictable. On Saturday, following the vote, State GOP Chairman Michael Whatley had said, “North Carolina Republicans sent Senator Burr to the United States Senate to uphold the Constitution and his vote today to convict in a trial that he declared unconstitutional is shocking and disappointing.”

But Burr is not alone.

On Saturday, the Republican Party of Louisiana took similar action against Sen. Bill Cassidy, who also voted to convict Trump. In a blunt, one-sentence statement issued Saturday, party leaders said: “The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Louisiana has unanimously voted to censure Senator Bill Cassidy for his vote cast earlier today to convict former President Donald J. Trump on the impeachment charge.”

Meanwhile, a third Republican could be set for sanctions.

According to reports, the GOP in Maine is weighing a censure vote against Sen, Susan Collins.

State GOP Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas in an email on Saturday acknowledged the anger at Collins by many of her members, and added that they should be prepared for an emergency statewide committee meeting “in the near future.”

In each case, Burr, Cassidy and Collins indicated that they had voted against Trump in order to uphold the Constitution after the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The other Republicans who voted for conviction were Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Only one of the seven, Murkowski, is up for re-election in 2022. Cassidy and Collins were re-elected last year. Burr has announced that he is not running again.

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