In an unsurprising yet historic event on Wednesday, February 5th, the Senate failed to convict Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment put forward by the House of Representatives. All Senate Democrats voted to convict, while the only Republican to vote favorably for removal on either counts was Mitt Romney, the Republican party’s presidential nominee in 2012. In his announcement on the Senate floor he stated, “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a ‘high crime and misdemeanor.’ Yes, he did.”
While Romney was the only Republican Senator to cast a guilty vote, he is not the only one to admit that what Trump did was wrong. In public statements, Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Murkowski (R-AK) described Trump actions as “inappropriate” and “shameful”. And in private, even more GOP Senators have admitted to voting against removal not because they think Trump is innocent, but because of fear.
Now that our constitutional check on the executive branch has failed to reprimand a president for abusing power and other unacceptable undemocratic behavior, Congress must move to its next option: censure. The formal condemnation of an individual by Congress. While not as drastic as impeachment and removal, censure is still a serious reprimand that will rein in Trump’s insistence that he did nothing wrong. If Republican members of Congress believe that Trump’s behavior was indeed “wrong” as so many of them have said, they should reprimand him for it and support the censure resolution proposed by Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Feinstein (D-CA). If Congress fails to hold Trump accountable for his actions in every possible way, the American people will be doomed to a lawless president.