MSNBC's Kasie Hunt revealed that Republicans would very much like to rid themselves of former president Donald Trump, but they're afraid of his supporters.
The Capitol Hill reporter told "Morning Joe" that House impeachment managers were trying to appeal to GOP senators by arguing that if they vote to convict Trump, which requires 17 Republicans, they won't have to vote to bar the former president from elected office because that requires only a majority, which Democrats hold in the Senate.
"They're essentially saying, okay, there's 17 of you that can vote to convict the president then we, Democrats, can say that he can't run for office anymore and this would allow Republicans to essentially say, okay, constituents who believe this election, because President Trump told them this election has problems, we represented our constituents in the Senate with our votes," Hunt said.
"It's actually a pretty classic tactic on all kinds of different issues to vote to allow the process to go forward and then to vote something a different way on the underlying bill, for example," she added, "but I'm not sure, again -- counting to 17 is still extremely difficult in terms of actually getting the conviction. That, of course, is required if you're going to actually bar him from office."
Hunt said one argument offered by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was particularly compelling for some GOP senators.
"After listening to Ted Lieu saying, you know what, if you allow this to go forward, he's going to run again, he's going to lose and this is going to happen again," Hunt said, "that resonated with some Republicans, so I think that is really something to keep an eye on and to watch as well."
Hunt said most Republicans -- even Trump's staunchest defenders -- would prefer to remove him from the political stage, but they're afraid to turn against him publicly.
"If this was a secret ballot, they don't want to have to deal with Donald Trump running again," she said. "You know what, that is even likely true for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who want to run for president themselves. Obviously, they're never going to say that in public or admit to it in any form. I will probably get angry emails for even suggesting it, but taking him off the stage is something that so many Republicans want to do [but] they're still afraid of what that might mean among his supporters."
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