On Saturday, the Senate voted 57-43 to acquit former President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection against the U.S. government. Moments after the upper chamber reached its decision, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said that she won't move to censure Trump.
As The Hill reported, speaking to a group of reporters at the Capitol, Pelosi ripped into Republican senators for refusing to hold the former commander-in-chief accountable and argued that it would be pointless to censure him.
"Censure is a slap in the face of the Constitution. It lets everybody off the hook," Pelosi said.
"Oh, these cowardly senators who couldn't face up to what the president did and what was at stake for our country are now going to have a chance to give a little slap on the wrist?""We don't censure people for inciting insurrection that kills people in the Capitol," Pelosi continued, stressing that the process is used when Congress wants to reprimand an elected official, not when the head of state commits high crimes and misdemeanors.
Pelosi also took aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to acquit but previously delivered a scathing monologue slamming Trump for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol building and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
In his speech, McConnell repeatedly attacked Trump, saying that he was "morally responsible" for the riots. However, the Republican said that he cannot vote to convict because Trump is no longer in office and the entire process was therefore unconstitutional.
Pelosi pointed out that the House voted to impeach Trump on January 13 while he was still in office, but McConnell -- who was Senate majority leader at the time -- refused to take up articles of impeachment and waited until Democrat Joe Biden assumed the presidency.
"For him to get up there and make this indictment against the president, and say, 'I can't vote for it because it's after the fact' — [it was] the fact that he established … that it could not be delivered before the inauguration… Oh my gosh," she said.As ABC News reported, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said earlier this week that he is open to censuring Trump. He argued that GOP lawmakers are "torn" between standing up for what's right and catering to their base and suggested that a censure motion should be considered.
Merkley's colleague, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, said Friday that Republicans are scared of Trump and lack the courage to stand up to him, even though they know he incited violence.