Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) slammed his state’s GOP committee over their unanimous decision to censure him on Monday night for voting to convict ex-President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial last week.
“It is truly a sad day for North Carolina Republicans,” Burr said in a statement. “My party’s leadership has chosen loyalty to one man over the core principles of the Republican Party and the founders of our great nation.”
The North Carolina GOP Central Committee censured the senator for his vote in the impeachment trial “which he declared to be unconstitutional,” the committee said in a statement. “The NCGOP agrees with the strong majority of Republicans in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that the Democrat-led attempt to impeach a former President lies outside the United States Constitution.”
Burr did vote against proceeding with the trial twice, claiming with most of his other GOP Senate colleagues that holding an impeachment trial against a president who is no longer in office is unconstitutional, even though many constitutional experts across the political spectrum have publicly asserted that argument is bogus.
However, Burr explained after his surprise vote on Saturday that though he still believed the trial was unconstitutional, the evidence that Trump had incited the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 was “compelling.”
“I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary,” said the senator, who is not running for reelection in 2022. “By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Kyshia Lineberger, the national committeewoman for the North Carolina GOP, told the Raleigh News and Observer on Sunday that Burr “betrayed the trust of his constituents.”
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who voted to acquit Trump, defended his fellow North Carolina senator after the censure on Monday night, calling him a “great friend and a great senator who has a distinguished record of serving the people of North Carolina” who “voted [with] his conscience.”
Out of the entire GOP Senate caucus, only Burr and six other Republicans voted to convict Trump with the Democratic senators. And like Burr, several of those Republicans are facing fury from GOP committees in their home state for actually holding the ex-president accountable for fomenting the siege of the Capitol in his attempt to overturn the election.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was censured by the Louisiana Republican Party on Saturday, and multiple Pennsylvania GOP county committees have censured Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).