Republican lawmakers, who voted to impeach or convict President Donald J. Trump, earned rebukes from their home states – a new trend of holding GOP legislators accountable for their actions in Washington.
“Wrong vote, Sen. Burr,” Tweeted former congressman Mark Warner. “I am running to replace Richard Burr because North Carolina needs a true conservative champion as their next senator.”
Wrong vote, Sen. Burr. I am running to replace Richard Burr because North Carolina needs a true conservative champion as their next senator. Join me → https://t.co/R4vNpN0Njx pic.twitter.com/rw3nMSleIY
— Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) February 13, 2021
Walker announced Dec. 1 he was running to replace retiring Sen. Richard M. Burr, who voted with six other Republicans to convict Trump of inciting insurrection in relation to the mob that overran the Capitol Jan. 6, while the president was addressing a rally in front of the White House’s South Lawn.
Saturday’s motion to convict Trump failed to reach the two-thirds threshold, 57-43.
The other six were: Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins, Pennsylvania’s Sen. Patrick J. Toomey Jr., Nebraska’s Sen. Benjamin E. Sasse, Utah’s Sen. W. Mitt Romney, Alaska’s Sen. Lisa A. Murkowski and Louisiana’s Sen. William Cassidy.
Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, released this statement: “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.”
Burr’s vote to convict, if anything is an act of ingratitude after Trump’s Justice Department declined to prosecute him for insider trading. Those charges, related to Burr’s dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks after he received sensitive COVID-19 briefings were serious enough to force him to give up the chairmanship of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The senator’s vote was, however, consistent with his collusion with Democrats to prop up the Russian Collusion Hoax while he still led that committee. There is no doubt that Burr knew before Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III that there was zero evidence that the 2016 Trump campaign partnered with the Russians. Yet, Burr helped Democrats, and Mueller, kept the false narrative of treason alive through and beyond the 2018 midterms.
In the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s 2,758,775 votes in North Carolina bested his 2016 total by just shy of 400,000 votes.
Louisiana GOP censures Cassidy
Newly reelected Cassidy was rebuked twice by his state party for his votes during the Democrats’ second annual Trump Impeachment Follies.
The same day he voted to convict Trump, the Louisiana GOP released this Feb. 13 statement: “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.”
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.
— Republican Party of Louisiana (@LAGOP) February 13, 2021
In a second statement that day, the committee said: “The Executive Committee of the Louisiana Republican Party has unanimously voted to censure Sen. Bill Cassidy for his vote cast earlier today to convict President Donald J. Trump on the impeachment charge.”
OFFICIAL: The LAGOP Executive Committee Unanimously Votes to Censure Senator Bill Cassidyhttps://t.co/NMBkY30WNt
— Republican Party of Louisiana (@LAGOP) February 13, 2021
This comes after Cassidy was criticized by the state chairman Louis Gurvich and the state party for his vote with Senate Democrats to validate that the impeachment trial itself was constitutional.
“The Republican Party of Louisiana is profoundly disappointed by Senator Bill Cassidy’s vote on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial now underway against former president, now a private citizen, Donald J. Trump,” the state party’s Feb. 9 statement read.
“We also remind all Americans that former President Trump is innocent of the politically motivated, bogus charges now pending against him in a kangaroo court presided over by an openly hostile political opponent.”
This is not a viewpoint heard anywhere in the mainstream media, let alone the Sunday morning pundit shows, where Washington’s conventional wisdom is distilled, packaged and distributed. The divide has always been there between the capital and the provinces, but now the provincals are getting loud.
In the 2020 presidential election, Trump garnered 1,255, 776 votes in Louisiana, nearly 78,000 more than his 2016 haul.
Wyoming GOP’s Cheney rebuke signals new approach
While there has long been this distrust of Republican lawmakers becoming too comfortable in the Swamp they were sent to drain. It became something far more serious when Wyoming Republicans rebuked Rep. Elizabeth L. Cheney, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, thus the No. 3 in the GOP’s House leadership, after she voted to impeach Trump.
Cheney led nine other House Republicans to join House Democrats, many of whom also took abuse from the folks back home, like Rep. H. Thompson “Tom” Rice Jr., who was censured by his state party’s executive committee.
“Congressman Rice’s vote unfortunately played right into the Democrats’ game, and the people in his district, and ultimately our State Executive Committee, wanted him to know they wholeheartedly disagree with his decision,” read the party’s statement.
What made the rebuke of Cheney different was that there is an unspoken understanding that when a hometown lawmaker climbs the leadership ladder, they are given more leeway on the ideological votes in exchange for the blessings of patronage jobs, pork spending and bragging rights that flow from senior positions on Capitol Hill.
Besides that, Cheney was the daughter of the Cowboy State’s own Richard B. “Dick” Cheney, who in addition to being vice president, also served as the state’s lone at-large congressman and President Gerald R. Ford’s White House chief of staff and President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of defense.
When Wyoming’s GOP central committee voted Feb. 6 to censure Cheney, the Associated Press reported that only eight of the committee’s 84 members stood up to object.
BREAKING: The Wyoming Republican Party has voted overwhelmingly to censure U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney for voting to impeach then-President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/5RoEZYSUUi
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 6, 2021
In fact, after Cheney declined the invitation to attend the central committee’s meeting, someone taped a paper with her name on an empty chair set alone in the front of the room. Worse than the rebuke, her party leadership back home was also mocking her.
In the weeks before the state party’s rebuke of Cheney, the congresswomanalso picked up a 2022 primary challenge from state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, a businessman and the founder of Wyoming Gun Owners.
Liz Cheney betrayed Conservatives when she stood w/Pelosi to impeach President Trump. Retweet to help me FIRE Liz Cheney. pic.twitter.com/mKwEd6GdTG
— Anthony Bouchard for Congress Against Cheney (@AnthonyBouchard) January 28, 2021
In the 2020 presidential election, Wyoming 193,559 voters chose Trump, roughly 20,000 more that chose him in 2016.
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Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based national political reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. In addition to The Star, he has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and national politics for One America News, Breitbart, Human Events and Townhall. Before coming to Washington, he was a staff reporter for Boston’s Catholic paper, The Pilot, and the editor of two Boston-area community papers, The Somerville News and The Alewife. McCabe is a public affairs NCO in the Army Reserve and he deployed for 15 months to Iraq as a combat historian.