Trump praises retiring Blunt, who opposed his conviction

Trump praises retiring Blunt, who opposed his conviction
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Former President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE lauded Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down Johnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence MORE (R-Mo.) for defending him during the impeachment trial. Blunt was one of 43 GOP senators who voted against convicting Trump. 

"I very much appreciate and respect the career of Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri," Trump said in a statement released on Tuesday. "He was one of the first people who came to my defense against the Impeachment Hoax #2 (IH-2), and it was greatly appreciated by me. Congratulations to the entire Blunt family, and to Roy on a wonderful career!" 

The statement is another effort by Trump, who was impeached by the House for inciting a mob to attack the Capitol as lawmakers certified President BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE's win in the presidential race, to reward Republicans who back him and punish those who oppose him.

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Blunt announced last week that he will not seek reelection to the seat he has held since 2010. The Republican is the latest in a string of GOP senators who have indicated they will not run again in 2022. 

Ten Republicans in the House voted to impeach Trump, and seven Republicans voted to convict him in the Senate. The vote still fell well short of the 67 votes needed to secure a conviction.

"I believe the constitutional purpose for presidential impeachment is to remove a president from office, not to punish a person after they have left office," Blunt said in explaining his vote. "No consideration was given to impeaching President Nixon when he resigned in 1974. The Constitution hasn’t changed and the Congress should not set a new, destructive precedent."

Trump has routinely criticized Republicans in both chambers who voted in favor of impeachment, threatening to back primary candidates challenging them. 

“No more money for RINOS,” Trump said in a statement earlier this month, referring to “Republicans in name only.” “They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base—they will never lead us to Greatness. Send your donation to Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com. We will bring it all back stronger than ever before!” 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) blasted Trump after voting to acquit him and suggested he could still be held criminally liable for inciting the mob.