Senate

No. 2 GOP senator suggests he’s open to censuring Trump

Greg Nash

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, indicated on Friday that he could be open to censuring former President Trump, depending on how the resolution was framed.

Asked about censuring Trump, Thune indicated that proposals are floating around but noted that it would need to be “effective.”

“I know there are a couple of resolutions out there. … I’ve seen a couple of resolutions at least that I think could attract some support,” Thune told reporters.

Pressed if he was saying the resolutions could get support from him, he added: “Yeah.” 

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has drafted a censure resolution that would also include language from the 14th Amendment that he hopes could be used to bar Trump from future office.

Thune, however, appeared to indicate that a resolution that also works in the 14th Amendment was largely a non-starter. Some Democrats and legal experts have floated Section Three of the amendment as a way to block Trump’s path without formally convicting him in the impeachment trial.

“I don’t think … those will go anywhere,” Thune said.

Talk of trying to censure Trump has circulated in the Senate for weeks as it’s become increasingly clear that his second impeachment trial will end with the former president being acquitted. 

Democrats would need 17 GOP votes to convict Trump, but only a handful of Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are considered potential swing votes.

No GOP senator has said yet that they will vote to convict Trump. 

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on whether or not to acquit Trump as soon as Saturday. 

Unlike impeachment, a censure resolution would need 60, not 67 votes, meaning Democrats would only need 10 GOP votes. 

Kaine, however, appeared skeptical on Friday that his resolution would go anywhere. 

“It’s only live if people want to do it, and it has to be bipartisan and I don’t think Republicans want to put a hurdle in Donald Trump’s way. There’s some Republicans who do but not enough,” Kaine said. 

Senators in both parties have been skeptical of the censure effort, underscoring the uphill effort to successfully passing a resolution.

Democrats have argued it doesn’t go far enough, while Republicans have argued that the House chose to pursue impeachment over other options. 

“They chose an impeachment trial. We should vote and this should be done with,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). 

A GOP senator said they had spoken to colleagues in both parties about a censure but that there “just doesn’t seem to be much interest.” 

Tags Donald Trump Impeachment John Thune Lisa Murkowski Ron Johnson Senate trial Tim Kaine Trump impeachment trial

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