PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The not-guilty votes that South Dakota’s John Thune and Mike Rounds cast Saturday for Donald Trump fit into a broader trend.
Republican U.S. senators nationwide tended to line up according to whether the Republican former president had won their states in his November 3 bid for re-election.
Seven Republicans and 50 Democrats voted Saturday that Trump was guilty for his actions that led to a violent crowd of supporters temporarily overrunning the U.S. Capitol January 6.
The riot erupted hours before the U.S. Senate’s formal count recognizing Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential winner with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.
A two-thirds majority of 67 senators was needed to convict Trump.
Trump had won the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming in November.
On Saturday those states’ Republican senators mostly voted to acquit Trump. There were four exceptions where Republicans decided Trump was guilty: Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and Utah’s Mitt Romney.
Three other Republicans who voted that Trump was guilty came from states Biden had won: North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Maine’s Susan Collins and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey.
Thune, who was the target of a Trump message on Twitter on December 22 suggesting Thune should face a Republican primary challenge in 2022, issued a news release afterward Saturday. It said in part, “What former President Trump did to undermine faith in our election system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable. But he is no longer president.”
Rounds meanwhile posted several messages Saturday on Twitter along the same line that because Trump no longer was president he no longer was subject to impeachment: “I’ve said all along that impeaching former President Trump is a moot point as the Constitution is clear that removal from office is the primary purpose of impeachment. Our Founding Fathers intended impeachment to remove public officials from office, not to punish private citizens.”
In a second tweet Rounds added, “After carefully listening to every minute of the presentations made by the House Managers and the former president’s legal team, I am convinced that the Senate does not have jurisdiction to render a judgement against the former president. Therefore, I voted not guilty.”