It appears that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is struggling to get bipartisan support for a resolution to censure President Trump over his withholding of military aid to Ukraine in an effort to get the country to announce an investigation into 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The red-state Democrat proposed the resolution Monday, when he lamented on the Senate floor how he was “struggling” with how he would vote in Trump’s impeachment trial — despite the fact that Trump’s acquittal is widely predicted.
Manchin lambasted the Senate for voting against calling additional witnesses in the trial, saying that “history will judge the Senate harshly” for failing to “protect our democracy.” However, he also decried impeachment as too harmful to an already divided nation.
“Never before in the history of our republic has there been a purely partisan impeachment vote of a president,” he said, adding, “Removing this president at this time would not only further divide our deeply divided nation, but also further poison our already toxic political atmosphere.”
Manchin added in his speech that he believed the president needed to still be held accountable for his actions without being removed from office, and thus, he proposed the censure.
“I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions in this matter. Censure would allow this body to unite across party lines, and as an equal branch of government to formally denounce the president’s actions and hold him accountable.”
The problem, however, is that his proposal is gaining little traction with his Senate colleagues.
“I think there’s some people that just want to tarnish what I expect will occur, which is the president will be acquitted, so, I don’t think there’s any support for a censure,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said when asked about Manchin’s resolution.
“I think probably the time to do that would have been before rather than after they went through with an impeachment process,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Tuesday.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said that while “censure has a potential place in the sequence” of events that took place, “I don’t think it’s after impeachment.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who was viewed as a critical swing vote in the fight for witness testimony but opted to vote against, repeated his assertion that Americans should decide Trump’s fate in the November election.
“[I’ve] said what I’ve had to say, and I don’t need to express myself any further on it,” he said.
Fellow potential swing vote Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she had previously considered censure, but would not do so after Trump had already been impeached.
“If the House had started with a censure resolution instead of leaping to impeachment and short-cutting the process and skipping over judicial adjudication, it’s something that I would have looked at,” Collins said. “That both Republican senators such as myself and Democratic senators have criticized his conduct strikes me as a reprimand.”
Manchin’s fellow Democrat Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama said he supported the idea.
A spokesman for Manchin did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.