Washington, United States:
A day after the Senate acquitted Donald Trump in a historic second impeachment trial, America was weighing how long the former president will cast a shadow over his party and the country.
The Senate voted 57 to 43 against Trump on Saturday for instigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
It was a stinging reprimand, with seven Republicans joining all Democrats in the most bipartisan impeachment vote of all time, but the 67 votes needed for a conviction fell far short.
When Trump later hinted at a possible political future, the severe divide the party was facing was evident despite other Republicans saying it was time to move on.
A frequent Trump critic, Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, predicted a “real battle for the soul of the Republican Party” on Sunday.
“It’s not over yet,” he told CNN, adding that he had voted to condemn Trump.
“Have to work with Trump”
Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was one of seven Republicans who voted for a conviction. He predicted on Sunday that Trump’s still heavy influence on Republicans would wane.
“I think his forces are dwindling … I think our leadership will be different in the future,” he told ABCs This Week.
Several Republicans, despite acquitting Trump, expressed dismay over his role on January 6 and in the previous weeks when he made false claims that fueled anger that the November election was stolen from him.
But one of the former president’s fiercest defenders, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, insisted on Sunday that Trump, with his ardent following, keep a large political role as the party looks to the 2022 midterm elections.
Calling Trump the “liveliest member of the Republican Party”, he added, “We have to work with President Trump – we cannot do it without him.”
Despite Trump’s acquittal, the Democrats insisted on Sunday that they had achieved a moral and political victory by getting some Republican votes in the Senate process while permanently clearing Trump’s name and clearing the way for President Joe Biden, his agenda quickly to advance.
“We clearly won the public opinion court,” Representative Don Beyer told CNN.
Trump has flirted with the idea of running again for the White House in 2024. A conviction on Saturday would probably have prevented him from holding a federal office again.
Just pointing out a possible run will keep him in political talks – and allow him to continue to raise large sums of money.
However, a number of Republicans have distanced themselves from the former president, who lost the election to Biden by seven million votes, while also seeing his party lose control of the Senate.
Several Republicans are lining up to apply for the 2024 presidential nomination and they are keen to keep him in the party’s past.
One of them, Nikki Haley, a former governor who served Trump as ambassador to the United Nations, was blunt in an interview published Friday by Politico, saying that Trump was increasingly isolated and “lost all political viability”.
But Republicans who have spoken out against Trump have been severely beaten back by the party’s grassroots, and many continue to fear his tendency to demand repayment from critics.
However, Trump was deprived of a key weapon that he used against political enemies – Twitter. It is unclear whether it can inspire the same enthusiasm among Republicans as it has in the past.
And Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell, who voted against the conviction and said a former president could not be charged, nonetheless identified another major challenge for Trump.
In a violent attack on Saturday, McConnell said on Jan. 6, “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking events.”
Stressing that as a civilian, Trump faces potential civil and criminal vulnerability on a number of issues, adding, “He has not gotten away with anything.”
As the party’s de facto leader, McConnell seemed determined to ditch any future role for Trump and redirect Republicans in a more traditional direction.
Meanwhile, some members of both parties have called for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th events – much like the body that investigated the September 11th 2001 attacks – which could further tarnish Trump’s reputation.
Trump remains withdrawn for the time being in his club in Florida.
In his statement on Saturday, he welcomed the verdict and denounced the trial as “another phase in the largest witch hunt in our country’s history”.
Then he added, “We have so much work to do and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, bright, and limitless American future.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)