Even with acquittal, the Republican Party sees a trial that ends Trump’s chance down the road

Senate Republicans, including those who do not plan to vote to convict former President TrumpDonald Trump NRCC Finance Chair: Republicans Who Voted Trump Impeachment Will Not Be Penalized, say this week’s impeachment has effectively ended any chance of him becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.

From the point of view of some Republican senators, the compelling case brought by House prosecutors has a silver lining: It means they probably won’t have to worry about Trump running for president again in three years, while at the same time eroding. his influence on the party. politics in general.

Several Republican senators were angered by watching videos of the violence and chaos inside the Capitol on January 6, including images of police officers called “pigs” and “traitors” and an officer screaming as he was crushed by rioters who hit a police line.

Interspersed with the traumatic scenes were clips of Trump urging his followers to march to the Capitol, warning them “if they don’t fight like hell, they won’t have a country anymore” and telling them “we love them; you are very special ”, shortly after the attack.

“It just makes you realize what an idiot Donald Trump is,” said a Republican senator after watching the second day of the House managers’ presentation.

The lawmaker suggested that ultimately, Democrats could help the Republican Party by sidelining Trump.

“Without knowing it, they are doing us a favor. They are disqualifying Donald Trump from running for president,” even if he is acquitted, the senator said.

Other Republican senators, even those who have indicated they will vote for acquittal, say impeachment would help distance the party from Trump, which has completely dominated Republican politics for the past five years.

“I can’t imagine the emotional reaction, the gut reaction to what we saw today doesn’t make people think, ‘This is horrible,’ whatever your opinion is on whether the president should be indicted or convicted,” said another Republican. senator. “What would stand out for my colleagues is that there was no rescue, there was nothing that came to put an end to it.”

The House impeachment managers emphasized that the National Guard did not deploy until two hours after the attack on the Capitol began, delaying the arrival of troops until 5 p.m. that day.

Rep. Ted lieuTed W. Lieu GOP senators praise impeachment managers but say Trump will be acquitted Managers want GOP to think twice before Trump acquittal Democrats argue Trump will again incite violence MORE (D-Calif.) He noted in his presentation that Trump was not on the Pentagon’s published list of administration officials consulted on the eventual decision to deploy the Guard.

Democratic prosecutors also filed a report that the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthy Conservative House Republican Welcomes Clark as Speaker of the United States House Kevin McCarthy Defends His Son’s Wedding Amid Rising COVID-19 in California LIVE COVERAGE: Democrats Close Case Against Trump MORE (R-Calif.) He had a heated exchange with Trump on Jan.6 during a phone call in which he pleaded with the president to denounce the rioters as they stormed the Capitol.

“This recalled and confirmed and probably added a deeper emotion to the view that the president’s participation in the party, although it brought new people, is very detrimental to who we are, what we believe and what we stand for, what we think we stand for. . “Said the second Republican senator.

The senator said that many voters think that “Trump is a big problem for Republicans,” while acknowledging that there are many Republican voters who think the former president has been “duped” by the establishment.

“This is very detrimental to any future political career for President Trump, but I have been surprised by the amount and intensity of support despite all the other things that have happened,” the senator added.

Senator Lisa murkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Republicans privately discuss trial votes Republican senators will likely vote to convict Trump The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by TikTok – New video of riots puzzles many senators MORE (Alaska) was the only Republican senator this week to publicly express the view shared by many of her Republican colleagues that Trump’s actions since losing the election have nullified his future viability as a presidential candidate.

“After the American public sees the full story presented here … I don’t see how Donald Trump could be re-elected to the presidency again,” Murkowski told reporters Wednesday.

Other Republicans said privately that they agreed with that assessment.

A third Republican senator said the facts at the impeachment underscore how difficult it would be for Trump to present himself as an eligible presidential candidate in 2024.

“I think closing the door on that [Trump] The chapter will probably be positive overall, ”the senator said.

But the lawmaker acknowledged that “it’s a bit of a dance” because many party voters still like Trump and sympathize with his claims that the elections were influenced by unfair decisions on absentee ballots.

“We have to be careful as a party to embrace those people and the big question is, ‘Were they just Trump Republicans and not Republicans?'” The senator said, predicting that progress can be made with those voters by addressing the same issues. Trump did it during his presidency, such as pressuring schools to reopen for in-person learning during the pandemic.

Polls show that a majority of Americans believe that Trump should be convicted, a change of mind compared to his first impeachment in 2020.

A CBS News / YouGov poll released Tuesday showed 56 percent supported convicting Trump, and 44 percent opposed.

In December 2019, shortly before Trump’s first impeachment trial, a CBS News / YouGov poll found that only 42 percent of those polled supported the conviction.

The New York Times reported last month that the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Marijuana Legalization Advocate: ‘This Could Be A Priority For Congress’ 12:30 PM Report From The Hill: Republicans Privately Discuss Test Votes LIVE COVERAGE: Democrats Conclude the case against Trump MORE (R-Ky.) He had told his associates that he thought Trump had committed chargeable crimes and that impeachment would facilitate Trump’s purge of the party.

McConnell has not spoken to Trump since Dec. 15 and has made it clear to his fellow Republicans that they are free to vote in conscience on whether to convict Trump on the charge that he incited the Jan. 6 riots. At least six Republican senators have indicated they are seriously weighing a vote in favor of the conviction.

A fourth Republican senator agreed that Trump’s power in the party took a severe hit due to detailed exposure of his behavior in the run-up to the Capitol attack and his subsequent actions.

“It certainly couldn’t have been helpful for him to have all of this discussed and linked. In his case, that does not mean that he would not run, even if he knew he could not win ”, added the legislator.

If winning the Republican nomination in 2024 seems increasingly remote, Trump may not want to risk becoming a loser twice in the presidential election, lawmakers say.

But they warn that even with diminished power, Trump will remain a potent force.

“Even if he can’t be the nominee, even if he can’t be elected, he will still be part of that discussion for a while,” the senator added.


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