According to members of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panel, Donald Trump may see more defections by previously supportive Republican senators now that the impeachment of the president has become a reality and their conduct will be scrutinized by voters back home.
Speaking with columnist David Ignatius, host Joe Scarborough noted that multiple Republican senators — including several who are retiring — are going soft on defending the president and may be inclined to allowing multiple witnesses who could damage the president.
“David Ignatius, you know, we’ve known Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both of us, for a long time. and as they coming to the end of their careers,” Scarborough began. “I would think [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be concerned that these gentlemen would vote their conscience and not just blindly follow Donald Trump and would vote to have a fair, open hearing and trial and get this new evidence that’s coming in, that’s come in since the House impeached.”
“I don’t know what the motivation for either Pat Roberts or Lamar Alexander would be to have at the end of their senate career a line about them blindly following an impeached president, and basically sacrificing their dignity and their integrity to suppress evidence, suppress the truth, when seven out of ten Americans want an open and fair trial, and want to hear from these new witnesses,” he added.
“As we’ve discussed often, Joe, Trump’s insurgency in the Republican party is burning the house down,” Ignatius replied. “Dependent on the fear of Republicans who didn’t defend their party, didn’t defend its values essentially it fled, that as you say, someone who’s retiring from the Senate, who’s thinking about his legacy, her legacy, is in a different place. The fear factor doesn’t work in the same way.”
“What I felt yesterday, as many viewers did, watching what we could of these proceedings is, this is real,” he continued. “It’s really happening. For weeks and weeks, Trump’s strategy was to pretend it wasn’t happening, dismiss it, smear it, it’s a hoax over and over again. But in the swearing in of the Chief Justice, in the traditional solemn words and accesses, you knew something real and lasting was happening, and I’m sure that got through to the Senator Roberts, and Lamar Alexanders, but more to the country, that we’re really going to watch this carefully now, and the Senate will do itself harm if it doesn’t take this seriously because it just entered a new phase.”