Pelosi rules out censure after Trump acquittal
After the Senate voted to acquit former President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Saturday ruled out censuring the former president — an idea that several Republicans had floated in recent days.
“Censure is a slap in the face of the Constitution. It lets everybody off the hook,” Pelosi told reporters following the Senate impeachment trial at the Capitol.
“Oh, these cowardly senators who couldn’t face up to what the president did and what was at stake for our country are now going to have a chance to give a little slap on the wrist?” Pelosi said while slapping her own wrist.
“We censure people for using stationery for the wrong purpose,” said Pelosi, referring to an episode that led Democrats to censure former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) in 2010.
“We don’t censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the Capitol,” she added.
Moments earlier, the Senate voted to acquit Trump in a 57-43 vote, short of the two-thirds needed to convict him.
Seven Republicans voted with all 50 Democrats that Trump was guilty of inciting a violent insurrection against the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed bid to halt the certification of President Biden’s election victory.
Pelosi also took a couple of jabs at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who gave a blistering floor speech after Saturday’s acquittal calling Trump “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack but arguing that an impeachment trial of a former president was unconstitutional.
The Speaker sought to correct the record, pointing out that the House had voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13, while Trump was still in office, and that McConnell had declared the Senate would not accept the article of impeachment to be delivered by the House managers until after Trump left office.
“We’re told it could not be received because Mitch McConnell had shut down the Senate,” Pelosi said.
“For him to get up there and make this indictment against the president and say, ‘I can’t vote for it because it’s after the fact’ … the fact that he established that it could not be delivered before the inauguration,” she said.
“Oh my gosh,” she added.
Updated 6:18 p.m.