Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) on Thursday accused Republican Party leaders of participating in “cancel culture” by censuring GOP senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump of charges that he had incited an insurrection.
“There was a strong case made,” Thune said of the arguments put forward last week by House impeachment managers during an AP interview Thursday. “People could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture, we can’t be doing that ourselves.”
The cancel culture trope was a favorite of Trump lawyers — and Michael van der Veen in particular — who repeatedly made the claim that their client was being cancelled.
‘This unprecedented effort is not about Democrats opposing political violence,” van der Veen had said. “It is about Democrats trying to disqualify their political opposition. It is constitutional cancel culture.”
While Thune who faces reelection voted in favor of Trump’s acquittal alongside a majority of Senate Republicans, he had opposed Trump’s antidemocratic effort encouraging Senate Republicans to object to Electoral College votes.
Thune had notably sided with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), then the majority leader, when in December he suggested that an effort by House Republicans to challenge the Electoral College’s results reaffirming Joe Biden as the next president would “go down like a shot dog.”
Trump fired back at the time, calling Thune a “RINO,” and “Mitch’s boy.”
Thune had further sided with McConnell when he qualified his not guilty vote during the Senate’s impeachment trial on Saturday based on the unsupported argument that impeaching a former president is unconstitutional — expressing concern with the idea of “punishing a private citizen with the sole intent of disqualifying him from holding future office.”