GOP Sen. John Thune Explains Why He Voted to Acquit Donald Trump Despite “Inexcusable Actions”

Last week, House impeachment managers made an incredibly strong argument against Donald Trump. The former president’s lawyers struggled to convince anyone that he was innocent.

Still, 43 Republicans decided to vote to acquit the president. When explaining why, though, many are hinting that they thought Trump was guilty. This was the tact taken by Mitch McConnell during his Saturday speech.

South Dakota’s John Thune is the number 2 Republican in the senate. He recently released a statement about his vote. Like McConnell, he basically said that he thought Trump was guilty but let him get away with it for “constitutional reasons.”

The statement began, “The impeachment trial is over and former President Trump has been acquitted. My vote to acquit should not be viewed as exoneration for his conduct on January 6, 2021, or in the days and weeks leading up to it. What former President Trump did to undermine faith in our election system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable.”

In the next paragraph, though, Thune excused the former president’s actions. He continued:

“But he is no longer president. The Constitution is clear that the primary purpose of impeachment is removal from office, and that’s what I believe the Founders intended. I have great concerns with the Senate punishing a private citizen with the sole intent of disqualifying him from holding future office. Our Founders designed impeachment to be an extreme remedy and cautioned against its use as a political weapon. We should heed their caution. In our democracy, matters of representation should be left with the people, as the Founders intended.”

You can read the entire statement here