Politics & Policy

North Carolina GOP Moves to Censure Senator Richard Burr over Impeachment Vote

Senator Richard Burr speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/Reuters)

North Carolina Republicans plan to censure Senator Richard Burr for his vote Saturday to convict former President Trump in his second impeachment trial.

The North Carolina GOP’s central committee will hold an emergency meeting Monday evening to vote on whether to censure Barr, Tim Wigginton, the state party spokesman, told the Charlotte Observer.

The Senate voted 57-43 in favor of convicting Trump of inciting an insurrection on January 6 at the Capitol, but even with seven Republicans breaking ranks and voting with Democrats the vote still fell short of the 67 votes needed for conviction.

Members of the committee said that they expect Burr to be censured. The committee of about 30 officials is comprised of chairmen from North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts as well as party chairman Michael Whatley.

“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,” Whatley said Saturday in a statement.

Burr’s vote came as a surprise since he had voted previously that he believed the impeachment trial was unconstitutional since Trump was no longer in office.

“When this process started, I believed that it was unconstitutional to impeach a president who was no longer in office. I still believe that to be the case. However, 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,” Burr said in a statement.

Burr’s third Senate term ends next year, and he will not seek reelection.

The Louisiana Republican Party took a similar step after Senator Bill Cassidy voted to convict Trump. Cassidy surprised colleagues when he voted to proceed with the trial days earlier, saying that Trump’s legal team had done a “terrible job”  in presenting their case.

“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty,” Cassidy said.

The Louisiana GOP immediately voted unanimously to censure Cassidy for his guilty vote.

The House voted last month to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” over his rhetoric before and during the uprising at the Capitol last month, when Trump supporters forced their way past security and into the halls of Congress. The violence at the Capitol on January 6 ended with five dead, including one Capitol Hill police officer.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle condemned Trump’s rhetoric at a speech to supporters in front of the White House earlier in the day, but most Senate Republicans indicated they were reluctant to formally convict the former president.

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