House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday that some Republicans want to censure rather than impeach President Trump over the handling of Wednesday’s Capitol riot.
McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote in a letter to GOP colleagues that he opposes impeaching Trump for a second time, but that some Republicans favor the less-severe form of reprimand.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to begin impeachment proceedings and a potential vote Wednesday. The Senate won’t hold Trump’s trial until after he leaves office on Jan. 20, but if he’s convicted in a Democrat-led body, he could be barred from holding office again.
McCarthy’s letter indicates other Republicans may argue against impeachment on the grounds that Trump should be rebuked in a different form.
“Personally, I continue to believe that an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility,” McCarthy wrote.
“Notwithstanding the Speaker’s push towards impeachment, I have heard from members across our conference who have raised at least four potential avenues available to the House to ensure that the events of January 6 are rightfully denounced and prevented from occurring in the future.”
The first option, he wrote, was “A Resolution of Censure under the Rules of the House.”
Censures are nearly as rare as impeachment, and one hasn’t been adopted against a president in more than 100 years. The first and most famous instance, the censuring of President Andrew Jackson, was an 1834 Senate vote in a fight over banking policy.
McCarthy wrote that he’s also heard from Republicans who want a commission to investigate the deadly riot and from legislators who want to change the process for accepting Electoral College results and laws around voter fraud.
Four Trump supporters and one policeman died during the Capitol break-in and siege, which followed a speech in which Trump urged thousands of backers to “fight like hell” to persuade legislators to overturn Biden’s victory. The rampage disrupted but did not prevent certification of Biden’s win.
House Republicans likely are powerless to stop Democrats from impeaching Trump for allegedly inciting the mob during a speech near the White House. But avoiding a vote against Trump could help Republicans avoid his wrath in future primary elections.
Trump would be the first president impeached twice. He was first impeached in December 2019 — without any House Republicans voting in favor of it — for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats including Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who earned a reported $83,000 per month on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. Trump was acquitted by the Senate in February with only one Republican, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, voting to convict on one count.
Kevin McCarthy: Some House Republicans favor censure of Trump over Capitol riot The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.