WASHINGTON: Former President Donald Trump’s acquittal on charges of inciting a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol left Democrats and Republicans deeply divided on Sunday even as his Democratic successor, Joe Biden, sought to move on with his political and economic agenda.
Democrats said they looked to the courts for possible civil and criminal charges against the former Republican president over the assault by his supporters on Jan. 6, which left five people dead.
The Senate trial concluded on Saturday with a 57-43 vote in favor of convicting Trump. The vote was bipartisan, with seven Republicans joining Democrats and independents, but the tally fell short of the two-thirds needed to secure conviction.
After the verdict, a fractured Republican party was battling over the way forward, with some senators who voted to convict facing swift backlash in their home states.
Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham said he had talked to Trump on Saturday night about uniting the Republican party under his leadership.
“You know, he is ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party. He’s excited about 2022,” Graham told Fox News Sunday, referring to congressional elections next year.
But Senator Bill Cassidy, one of the Republicans who found Trump guilty, said on Sunday he believed more of his constituents would come to agree with him as the facts became known. Republican party leaders in Cassidy’s home state of Louisiana voted on Saturday to censure the senator for his vote.
“I’m attempting to hold President Trump accountable … I am very confident as time passes, people will move to that position,” Cassidy said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked about censure.
The party leader in Pennsylvania, Lawrence Tabas, also criticized its Republican Senator Pat Toomey for voting to convict.
Some Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, criticized Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 even as they voted to acquit him. McConnell blasted the former president on Saturday as morally responsible for the Capitol attack, but said he didn’t vote to convict because Trump was no longer in office.