Richard Burr draws ire of North Carolina Republicans for voting 'guilty' at Trump's second impeachment trial
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina was among the seven GOP senators who, on February 13, joined 50 Senate Democrats in voting to convict former President Donald Trump for "incitement to insurrection." And quite predictably, pro-Trump Republicans in Burr's state are getting ready to censure the conservative senator for daring to vote against Dear Leader.
Although those 57 "guilty" votes comprised a Senate majority, they fell ten votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary for a conviction in an impeachment trial — and so, Trump was acquitted. In North Carolina, Trump's loyalists are determined to chastise Burr for being among the minority of GOP senators who voted "guilty." On Monday, February 15, according to CNN reporters Dan Merica and Devan Cole, the North Carolina Republican Party will meet to vote on whether or not Burr should be censured for his "guilty" vote.
North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley called Burr's vote "shocking and disappointing," and Kyshia Lineberger — a North Carolina Republican committeewoman — told CNN, "I am voting 'yes' because he failed his state and his constituents by voting to convict former President Trump in what was an unconstitutional trial — a trial that even he said was unconstitutional. At the end of the day, America is a republic where we the people elect representatives. Sen. Burr did not represent the will of the people, and that is a shame."
Burr, however, doesn't have to worry about facing a GOP primary challenge in 2022. The conservative senator has announced that he won't be seeking reelection next year.
Many Never Trump conservatives were hoping that after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, his influence on the Republican Party would go away or at least decrease. But even after a violent mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, loyalty to Trump remains a litmus test in much of the GOP — and Burr isn't the only Republican senator who is being chastised for voting "guilty." Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was censured by the Louisiana Republican Party on February 13 for joining six other Republicans and 50 Democrats in voting "guilty."
Other Republican senators who voted to convict Trump included Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Toomey, like Burr, isn't seeking reelection in 2022 — and the Pennsylvania senator is obviously uncomfortable with the fact that total, unquestioning loyalty to Trump has become a litmus test in his party.
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