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Area senators weigh in on Trump impeachment acquittal

Republican senators Blunt and Hawley voted to acquit former President Donald Trump while Democratic senators Duckworth and Durbin voted to convict him
Credit: AP
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo right, , departs Capitol Hill after the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday of inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, concluding a historic impeachment trial that spared him the first-ever conviction of a U.S. president but exposed the fragility of America’s democratic traditions and left a divided nation to come to terms with the violence sparked by his defeated presidency.

Here's how U.S. senators from Missouri and Illinois voted and the statements they released following the acquittal.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri (voted against impeachment)

“I said before this trial started that 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. None of the arguments presented changed my view that this was an unconstitutional proceeding. Impeachment is not a tool that should be used to settle political scores against a private citizen.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri (voted against impeachment)

Sen. Josh Hawley's office has not issued a statement.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois (voted for impeachment)

“Last month, Donald Trump lavished praise on a mob hell-bent on violence. He gave them orders to ‘fight like hell’—kindling their anger, weaponizing their fury, then directing them to the steps of the United States Capitol where they waged an insurrection that led to the murder of a Capitol police officer and the deaths of at least six other people.

“After the House managers’ fact-based, convincing and harrowing case, a majority of United States Senators voted to hold Trump accountable today, putting principle before partisanship—country before Trumpism—and helping send the message that no President of any party has free rein to incite violence at any point in their term. That a President is subject to constitutional accountability for every action they take in office, whether it occurs during their last week, their last day or even their final few minutes serving in office.

“However, it is profoundly disheartening that so many of my Republican colleagues chose to ignore the evidence and vote to acquit him. Too many Republican senators are comfortable hiding behind their misguided belief that trying a former President for his actions in office is unconstitutional, even as they refuse to answer the much more important question of whether actually inciting an insurrection against the constitution is unconstitutional. By doing so, they desecrate the democracy that so many patriots— including members of my own family—have sacrificed for just to protect the legacy of a man who has only ever truly pledged allegiance to himself."

“History will not look kindly on their votes to defend a wannabe tin-pot dictator or their willingness to further imperil our notion of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. As a result of this trial, the world knows that Donald Trump betrayed his oath by inciting a violent insurrection to try to overturn a free and fair election that Joe Biden won by millions upon millions of votes. Those who choose to ignore that reality, who are willing to justify Trump’s attempts to undermine this nation’s centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers of power, will forever have to live with their decision to put politics above nation—the consequences of which will have a long-lasting impact on the strength of our democracy.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois (voted for impeachment)

“For the last five days, the House managers have carefully laid out a convincing case for conviction. The managers had the facts, the law, the Constitution, and compelling evidence on their side.  That is why I voted to convict Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection against our government.

“I regret that more of my Republican colleagues did not join me in voting to convict and disqualify Donald Trump from holding future office.  I wish the Senate had sent an unequivocal message that it is unacceptable for any president to incite violence in order to stop the peaceful transition of power.  But it should not be lost that a majority of Senators—including seven Senators from the President’s own party—voted to convict him.

“On January 6, that great tradition of American democracy, the peaceful transition of power that had taken place in every presidential transition since George Washington’s, was assailed.  Our democracy, our Constitution, and the Capitol building were attacked on January 6, 2021.  Brave Americans were wounded and killed defending them.  And thanks to that bravery, our democracy endures.  We must learn our lessons from this. We will remember January 6, 2021 forever.  And we must not repeat it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.