Member of Senate GOP leadership: Impeaching Trump ‘not going to happen’
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Friday dismissed calls to impeach President Trump in the wake of riots inside the U.S. Capitol, signaling that the effort will ultimately fall short.
“No, I think it’s a ridiculous discussion to have. I’ve got enough decisions to make about things that can happen rather than to spend time on things that can’t happen,” Blunt told a Missouri TV station when asked if he supported removing Trump and if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would bring the Senate back before Jan. 19.
“The Speaker knows this is not going to happen. Sen. Schumer knows this isn’t going to happen. You don’t have the time for it to happen, even if there was a reason. So there’s no reason to debate this except just pure politics,” Blunt added, referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Blunt added in a separate interview with KSHB, another Missouri TV station, that impeaching Trump was “not going to happen.”
Though the House would need to pass articles of impeachment, the Senate would hold the trial and ultimately vote on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office.
Blunt is the highest-ranking Senate Republican to weigh in on calls from a growing number of Democrats for Trump to be impeached after a mob came to the Capitol as lawmakers were counting the Electoral College vote.
Trump has claimed for weeks that the election was “rigged,” even as his legal team lost dozens of court challenges and election experts dismissed allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Though Trump has since pledged to have an orderly transfer of power, shortly before chaos broke out on Capitol Hill the president urged his supporters to walk to the Capitol, where Vice President Pence and others were counting President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Trump appeared at times to condone the chaotic scene even as law enforcement was trying to remove rioters from the Capitol, saying in a since-deleted tweet that “these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots.”
Blunt said that while he didn’t think Trump would want rioters to break into the Capitol, “when you start inviting people to Washington to march on the Capitol you better know that there are potential consequences of that that you would never be for.”
Democrats and several Republicans, including two members of the House, have said they are open to Trump being removed from office through the 25th Amendment. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also said on Friday that he was open to considering articles of impeachment if they pass the House.
But other Senate Republicans are pushing back against removing Trump either through the 25th Amendment or impeachment. Republicans will control the Senate until Biden is sworn in, at which point Democrats will have a 50-50 majority because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could break a tie.
Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), the only GOP senator to support one of the articles of impeachment against Trump last year, told reporters on Wednesday night that he didn’t think there was time for another effort.
“I think we have to hold our breath for the next 20 days,” he said when asked about the 25th Amendment.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused Democrats of throwing politics into the aftermath of the Capitol attacks, adding that impeachment “would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate but would be a dangerous precedent for the future of the presidency.”
“Speaker Pelosi is hanging by a political thread, and Senator Schumer lives in fear of a primary from the radical left,” he added in a tweet.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who dropped his plans to support challenges to the Electoral College after the attacks, said calls for impeachment are “unhelpful.”
“We’re 13 days away from inauguration. This is not the time to keep taking the temperature up. So let’s stand together and govern for the next 13 days,” Daines told a Montana TV station.