The Senate has voted to acquit Donald Trump of the charge of inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol January 6.
Fifty-seven senators voted Saturday to find Trump guilty, but a two-thirds majority is required for conviction on impeachment charges. The margin fell 10 votes short of that, with just seven Republicans joining all Democrats and both independents in choosing conviction.
If he had been convicted, the Senate could have taken a second vote to disqualify him from ever holding federal office again, and that would have required just a simple majority.
Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania were the Republicans who voted to convict. Despite failing to reach the two-thirds majority, this was the most bipartisan conviction vote in any impeachment trial.
On January 6, a pro-Trump mob marched from a rally held by the then-president on the National Mall to invade and vandalize the capitol, interrupting Congress's vote to certify the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden. Trump had encouraged his followers to go to the capitol and "fight like hell" to "stop the steal" of the election, which he continued to claim he had won. The insurrection led directly to the deaths of five people.
LGBTQ+ and other civil rights groups are livid at the acquittal. "The verdict does not reflect the truth understood by a majority of Americans, that Donald Trump recklessly and maliciously directed his supporters to attack the Capitol and our democracy," said a statement issued by GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "The Trump administration will forever be defined by misinformation and violence, tactics the former president weaponized against LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities before turning them loose on our government on January 6th. Senators voting to acquit are now and for all of history recorded for their cowardice in failing to hold the former president accountable for his lawless, destructive behavior. Let this be a turning point for our country, where we demand a return to shared core values of truth, safety and integrity to protect the least among us, especially from those chosen to lead us."
People for the American Way President Ben Jealous added this statement: "Today, Senate Republicans completely abandoned their constitutional duty to hold Donald Trump accountable for 'incitement of insurrection' against our government, despite overwhelming evidence of his role in the deadly attack against the Capitol. No president or elected official should ever be allowed to incite an insurrection against their own government in an effort to subvert the will of voters and rip apart the fabric of our democracy. For too long, the privileged and powerful in our society have gotten away with wrongdoing at every level. For this reason, Trump's acquittal in the Senate makes it all the more important that we double down on democracy reforms like the ones in H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which would break the stranglehold of wealthy special interests on our government. Now it's time to strengthen voting rights so that our elected officials are chosen by all the people and not a minority that suppresses the votes of American citizens in a desperate attempt to overturn free and fair elections."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decried the result, saying January 6 was a "day of infamy" and that Saturday's vote was a "vote of infamy." Republican Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, who voted for acquittal, condemned Trump's actions but said he believed the Senate lacked jurisdiction in the case because Trump was already out of office.
Trump, meanwhile, took a victory lap, releasing a statement that said his "Make America Great Again" movement "has only just begun." He called the impeachment, his second, part of a continuing "witch hunt" against him.
Some other reactions from LGBTQ+ officeholders and commentators:
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