Trump’s acquittal means he remains dominant force in GOP

Trump remains dominant force in GOP following acquittal
In this Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 file photo, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., stand with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., as Trump speaks while departing after a Senate Republican Policy luncheon, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The GOP still belongs to Donald Trump after he was acquitted of inciting the horrific attack on the US Capitol. After he incited a deadly riot at the US Capitol last month, the Republican Party considered purging the norm-shattering former president. But in the end, only seven of 50 Senate Republicans voted to convict him in his historic second impeachment trial on Saturday.

For Trump’s loyalists, the acquittal offers a vindication of sorts and a fresh connection to Trump’s fiery base. And for Trump’s GOP antagonists, it also shows another alarming sign that the party is lurching further in a dangerous direction with little desire to reconnect with the women, moderates and college-educated voters Trump alienated.

Ultimately, the resolution of the trial brings into clear relief a divide in the GOP that party leaders, voters and donors will have to navigate as they try to regain control of Congress next year and aim to retake the White House in 2024.

That tension was on display in the immediate aftermath of the impeachment verdict. After supporting the former president’s acquittal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a speech that echoed some of the very points Democratic impeachment managers emphasized in seeking Trump’s conviction.

McConnell said the former president was “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” that led to the insurrection.

But he argued that there were no constitutional grounds for the Senate to convict Trump now that he is out of office, a procedural point embraced by many in the GOP.

The history books will show that 10 members of the Trump’s party in the House and another seven in the Senate ultimately believed that his behavior was egregious enough to warrant conviction — and even a lifetime ban on holding future office.

You may read: Trump acquitted, denounced in historic impeachment trial