The seven Republican senators who broke with their party and voted to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting a riot said Saturday they felt it was the right thing to do.
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said Mr. Trump “promoted unfounded conspiracy theories to cast doubt on the integrity of a free and fair election because he did not like the results.”
“The president bears responsibility for these tragic events,” Mr. Burr said. “The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a co-equal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary.”
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said it was “the right call” but declined to comment further as he left the Capitol. Mr. Toomey is not running for reelection in 2022.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said he promised voters that “I’d always vote my conscience even if it was against the partisan stream.”
“I cannot go back on my word, and Congress cannot lower our standards on such a grave matter, simply because it is politically convenient. I must vote to convict,” Mr. Sasse said.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote against Mr. Trump in both impeachment cases, said Mr. Trump “incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes.”
“He did this despite the obvious and well-known threats of violence that day,” Mr. Romney said. “President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the vice president, and others in the Capitol.”
He also said the former president “attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state.”
“Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction,” he said.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said her vote against Mr. Trump “stems from my own oath and duty to defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said of her vote, “It’s not about me and my life, my job. This is really about what we stand for.”
“I’m sure that there are many Alaskans that are very dissatisfied with my vote,” she said. “And I’m sure that there are many Alaskans that are proud of my vote.”