What comes next for Trump and the Republican Party?

Grant Boone
February 14, 2021

President Joe Biden issued a statement late Saturday, hours after the U.S. Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on an article of impeachment for "inciting an insurrection" in connection with the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The top Senate Republican explained the unexpected turnabout at the end of a five-day impeachment trial, by declaring it unconstitutional to convict Trump of misconduct now that the former president has left office and become a private citizen.

Democrats failed to get the two-thirds majority vote to find him guilty of inciting an insurrection. Five people died, and the House impeached Trump for inciting insurrection.

Trump has flirted with the idea of running for the White House again in 2024 and a conviction would have likely barred him from holding federal office again.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican who voted not guilty, offered scathing remarks about the former president after the verdict.

Among them is former SC governor Nikki Haley, who said Republicans were wrong for supporting Trump's campaign to reverse the election results, a course that led to the January 6 attack on Congress.

Trump, 74, continues to hold a grip on his party with a right-wing populist appeal and "America First" message.

White House Deputy Press Secretary suspended over threats made to reporter
The suspension, Psaki said, "was an important step to send the message that we don't find this acceptable". A day after being sworn in as president, Biden warned his White House staff against mistreating others.

Trump was the first former president to face trial after leaving office. But the Senate still has never convicted an impeached president.

"President Biden has done a very good job of separating himself from the impeachment trial proceedings and keep his messaging on the Covid-19 crisis and the accompanying economic crisis", Schiller said.

The House of Representatives had impeached Trump on January 13, a week before he left office.

Shortly before the rampage, Trump urged his followers to march on the Capitol, repeated his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud, and told them that "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore". But the impeachment trial was not in vain, for it revealed the ugly truth: Trump knew lawmakers' lives were in danger from his violent supporters, and instead of helping the people's representatives escape harm, Trump scoffed.

"I'm not politically minded, so to speak", he said. The House managers said Trump summoned the mob to Washington, gave the crowd its marching orders and then did nothing to stop the ensuing violence.

Wendy Schiller, a professor of political science at Brown University, agreed that Trump's future may be limited. But he blasted a shambolic performance by Trump's legal team at the start of the trial while praising Democrats for presenting a compelling case. The words Trump used, they argued, were no different than those regularly employed by Democrats.

McConnell jarred the political world just minutes after the Democratic-led House impeached Trump on January 13, writing to his Republican colleagues that he had "not made a final decision" about how he would vote at the Senate trial.

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