What the 7 Republicans Who Voted to Convict Donald Trump Have Said About Their Decision

Seven Republican senators voted alongside 50 members of the Democratic caucus to convict former President Donald Trump on Saturday.

The final tally of 57-43 fell short of the 67 votes needed to convict Trump on the House impeachment charge of inciting the January 6 insurrection against the U.S. Capitol. However, the count total has been touted as the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history. Trump's acquittal marks the end of a five-day impeachment trial.

The GOP senators backing Trump's conviction include Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney of Utah, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Here's how they explained their decisions this weekend.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

In a statement released Sunday, Murkowski addressed her reasoning for voting to convict Trump.

"The facts make clear that the violence and desecration of the Capitol that we saw on January 6 was not a spontaneous uprising," Murkowski said. "President Trump had set the stage months before the 2020 election by stating repeatedly that the election was rigged, casting doubt into the minds of the American people about the fairness of the election."

She added that during the events of the mob riot on January 6, "President Trump was not concerned about the Vice President; he was not concerned about members of Congress; he was not concerned about the Capitol Police. He was concerned about his election and retaining power."

Of the seven senators, Murkowski is the only one up for re-election next year, spurring speculation she'll face a primary challenge from Sarah Palin.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks during the
Lisa Murkowski is one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump on Saturday. Here she is shown speaking during a confirmation hearing on February 4 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images/Getty

Susan Collins of Maine

During a Senate floor speech on Saturday following the vote, Collins explained her decision to vote to convict the former president, saying that he created a "dangerous situation" and put his "selfish interest" over the interests of the country.

"That attack was not a spontaneous outbreak of violence. Rather, it was the culmination of a steady stream of provocations by President Trump that was aimed at overturning the results of the presidential election," said Collins.

Collins added that Trump worked to undermine the election results and rile up his followers to "fight" against the reality of President Joe Biden's victory.

Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

Cassidy echoed Collins' remarks in a video posted to Twitter on Saturday following the vote.

"Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person," Cassidy said. "I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty."

Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty. pic.twitter.com/ute0xPc4BH

— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) February 13, 2021

During a Sunday appearance on ABC News' This Week with host George Stephanopoulos, Cassidy noted that he "listened very carefully to all the arguments."

"But if you describe insurrection as I did, as an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, we can see the president, for two months after the election, promoting that the election was stolen," Cassidy said.

"[Trump] then scheduled the rally for January the 6th, just when the transfer of power was to take place, and he brought together a crowd, but a portion of that was transformed into a mob," Cassidy added. "And when they went into the Capitol, it was clear that he wished that lawmakers be intimidated."

He continued: "All of that points to a motive and a method, and that is wrong. He should be held accountable."

Mitt Romney of Utah

Romney shared similar sentiments for his decision to vote against the former president on Saturday.

"President Trump attempted to corrupt the election," Romney said, referencing Trump's efforts to pressure the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify election results and inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

"President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol," Romney added. "Each and every one of these conclusions compel me to support conviction."

Richard Burr of North Carolina

Burr, who plans to retire next year, previously voted to dismiss the impeachment trial on constitutional grounds, but yesterday he surprised many on both sides of the aisle by voting for Trump's conviction.

He said in a statement released Saturday, "The Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority in the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent. As an impartial juror, my role is now to determine whether House managers have sufficiently made the case for the article of impeachment against President Trump."

Having established that, he went on to say that "Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution."

He continued, "The President promoted unfounded conspiracy theories to cast doubt on the integrity of a free and fair election because he did not like the results. As Congress met to certify the election results, the President directed his supporters to go to the Capitol to disrupt the lawful proceedings required by the Constitution. When the crowd became violent, the President used his office to first inflame the situation instead of immediately calling for an end to the assault.

"As I said on January 6th, the President bears responsibility for these tragic events. The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict."

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

Toomey, following his vote to convict the former president, released a statement Saturday evening to express his discontent with Trump's actions. The senator announced last year he would not seek re-election. Last month, he called on Trump to resign, saying he was no longer a "viable candidate" for elected office following the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"I was one of the 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump, in part because of the many accomplishments of his administration. Unfortunately, his behavior after the election betrayed the confidence millions of us placed in him," Toomey said in a Saturday tweet.

"His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction," he added.

His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.

— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) February 13, 2021

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

Sasse said in a statement on Saturday that he made a promise to "always vote my conscience even if it was against the partisan stream."

"I cannot go back on my word, and Congress cannot lower our standard on such a grave matter, simply because it is politically convenient," Sasse added.

The Nebraskan Senator noted that "an impeachment trial is a public declaration of what a president's oath of office means and what behavior that oath demands of presidents in the future."

Two days after the riot, Sasse became the first GOP senator to say he was open to ousting Trump, telling CBS anchor Gayle King, "The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move, because as I told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office."

Newsweek reached out to each of the senators' offices for additional comments but didn't hear back in time for publication.

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts