Democrats are sending the House’s article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday in the hopes that the upper chamber will convict and disqualify Trump from ever holding office again.
But several Republican senators privately said there’s next to no chance the GOP breaks from Trump.
As of right now, there are only five or six GOP senators who would vote to convict Trump, according to The Hill.
A conviction requires a two-thirds majority vote, meaning Democrats would need at least 17 GOP votes to succeed.
And although several Republicans were critical of Trump’s behavior before and after the Capitol uprising on Jan. 6, a few things have worked to help him win back Republican support.
One development GOP sources cited was Trump’s decision not to pardon anyone involved in the Capitol riot.
“I thought if he pardoned people who had been part of this invasion of the Capitol, that would have pushed the number higher because that would have said, ‘These are my guys,’” an anonymous Republican senator said.
GOP senators are also worried about backlash after seeing the way Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the House GOP’s conference chair and third-ranking leader, was excoriated for being one of 10 House Republicans to vote for impeachment.
Cheney, the neocon daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, already has been met with censure and growing calls to resign her leadership post.
“I do think his supporters would be very upset,” the Republican senator said.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who was rumored to be in favor of conviction, is asking the Senate to delay the impeachment trial until mid-February so that Trump’s legal team can have an adequate amount of time to prepare.
McConnell, just like most Senate Republicans, agrees that any attempt to remove Trump is now too late, the anonymous senator told The Hill.
“For the most part, there is a real strong consensus among our members that this is after the fact,” said another Republican senator.
“He’s out of office and impeachment is a remedy to remove somebody from office, so there’s the constitutional question,” the senator said. “That’s my sense of where most of our members are going to come down.”