‘Censure would allow this body to unite across party lines…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) As Wednesday’s vote in the impeachment of President Donald Trump approaches, the burning question is no longer if the president will be acquitted but whether the president’s absolution will be bipartisan.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of the Senate’s leading moderates, used his allotted 15 minutes in an effort to broker a compromise solution, but one that likely would be received as too-little, too-late after Congressional Democrats have doubled-down and failed repeatedly on their partisan effort to remove the president.
“I see no path to the 67 votes [requried to convict and remove] President Trump,” he said, according to Fox News.
“However, I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump,” he continued. “… Censure would allow this body to unite across party lines.”
While many Democrats likely expect to endure fallout for their votes, Manchin, whose state is among the most steadfast supporters of Trump, faces a bigger dilemma than his colleagues.
He had emphatically called for both sides to be allowed to call witnesses, but Republicans maintained that doing so would lend further validity to the politically motivated maneuver.
Compounding the complicated set of factors is that Democrats—despite clear evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden committed an even graver offense that paralleled Trump’s alleged abuse of power—have refused to acknowledge that Biden committed any wrongdoing in pressuring the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son’s company.
Manchin, who declared he was still undecided, acknowledged the spirit of divisiveness in the country that impeachment had only exacerbated.
“I know that this is not a difficult decision for many of my friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but it is one that has weighed heavily on me,” he said.
But he denied that his own political motivations were a factor in his deliberations.
“Where I come from, party politics is more often overruled by just plain old common sense,” he said, “and I have never in more than 35 years of public service approached an issue with premeditated thoughts that my Republican friends are always wrong and my Democrat friends are always right.”
Prior to House Democrats’ vote to impeach Trump, several vulnerable Democrats also called for a brokered resolution such as censure. However, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., they forged ahead, pressing some, like Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., to recant their calls for censure.
The House ultimately voted by a near party line for impeachment, with only two Democrats breaking rank to reject both articles. Re. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey subsequently switched parties to join the Republicans.
Manchin is one of three Senate Democrats who stand a good chance of crossing the aisle to oppose the largely symbolic impeachment vote.
He articulated the cases made by both sides in the recent trial but seemed more inclined to leave it with voters to decide Trump’s fate, barring any imminent national danger.
But Manchin also tipped his hand to the fact that his ideal outcome would be one in which voters decided to remove the president, even if the alternative would push the country in a more dangerous direction policy-wise—or possibly face immediate impeachment, as some have signaled Biden might.
“This process should be based simply on our love and commitment to our country, not the relationship any of us have with this president,” he said. “I have always wanted the president to succeed no matter what their party affiliation, but I love our country and must do what is best for the nation.”