Florida’s Senators predictably were no’s on the impeachment vote to convict former President Donald Trump. One had a more decisive role than the other.
Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott both voted with 41 other Republicans, backing the proposition that the former President was innocent of incitement.
Rubio cast the pivotal 34th vote, clinching Trump’s acquittal.
“The real purpose of this trial was to tar and feather not just the rioters, but anyone who supported the former President and any Senator who refuses to vote to convict,” the Senator said in a statement after the vote. “I voted to acquit former President Trump because I will not allow my anger over the criminal attack of January 6th nor the political intimidation from the left to lead me into supporting a dangerous constitutional precedent.”
For Rubio, running for reelection in 2022, the vote should endear him to the base and will likely prove to be a lightning rod for Democrats. Though it should surprise no watcher given his activity before and throughout the proceedings.
Rubio, going into the trial, decried proceedings as a waste of time, and vowed to vote against the proceedings as soon as he could. Indeed, he cast one of a handful of votes against the rules of the trial that Trump’s own legal team agreed to.
On Friday during the question and answer period of the Senate hearing, Rubio submitted a question to House Impeachment managers that seemed to apply to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Voting to convict the former President would create a new precedent that a former official can be convicted and disqualified by the Senate. Therefore, is it not true that under this new precedent, a future House, facing partisan pressure to lock her up, could impeach a former Secretary of State and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify from any future office?”
That question was dismissed as irrelevant, but Rubio also found reason to carp today as House impeachment managers attempted to bring forth witnesses in what was an ultimately failed gambit.
“All this drama for nothing. House managers made fools of themselves. They have agreed to have a news article for the record, something they could have gotten without resistance from anyone,” Rubio groused.
After the vote, Scott also offered a statement: “The attack on the Capitol we all witnessed on January 6 was horrific and the lawless thugs who are responsible for the disgusting violence we saw do not represent America. They should all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, this week, instead of addressing the serious issues facing our nation, Democrats in Congress put our work for the American people on hold and pushed forward with an unconstitutional impeachment trial. The Democrats’ political theater was better suited for the Kennedy Center than the U.S. Capitol. It was a waste of everyone’s time and tax dollars.”