Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) incurred the wrath of the Louisiana Republican Party on Saturday when he became one of only seven Republicans to vote to convict Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of incitement. His hometown GOP immediately took action, censuring Cassidy in a unanimous vote for failing to uphold the values of the party.
“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the vote today by Sen. Cassidy to convict former President Trump. Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and President Trump has been acquitted of the impeachment charge filed against him,” the party said on Twitter.
Cassidy remained largely silent about his vote, releasing only a short tweet explaining, “Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
On Saturday, Cassidy joined Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, and Pat Toomey (as well as all Democrats) in voting to convict the former president. Those defections, however, still left the Senate ten votes shy of actual conviction and Trump – again – walked away from the impeachment trial with an acquittal.
Cassidy’s vote (along with Burr’s) was somewhat odd, seeing as how he voted just a couple of weeks ago to declare the entire trial unconstitutional, given that Trump is no longer the sitting president. Unlike Burr, however, Cassidy had a change of heart after the opening arguments, concluding that the trial should go forward because the House impeachment managers made a much better case than Trump’s defense lawyers.
“If I’m an impartial juror, and I’m trying to make a decision based upon the facts as presented on this issue, then the House managers did a much better job,” Cassidy said on Tuesday. “The issue at hand is, is it Constitutional to impeach a president who’s left office? And the House managers made a compelling, cogent case, and the president’s team did not.”
As for Burr, he determined that, by voting to move ahead with the trial, the Senate had magically turned an unconstitutional process into a constitutional one.
“The Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority in the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent. As an impartial juror, my role is now to determine whether House managers have sufficiently made the case for the article of impeachment against President Trump,” said Burr. “The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict.”