February 15, 2021
Joe Biden Says 'Substance' Of Donald Trump Impeachment Charge 'Not In Dispute' Despite Acquittal

In a statement released Saturday evening, President Joe Biden addressed the U.S. Senate's decision to acquit Donald Trump for the second time, The Hill reported.

The upper chamber voted 57-43 to acquit the former commander-in-chief on a charge of incitement of insurrection against the U.S. government, with most Republicans voting not guilty.

According to Biden, however, even some of those who voted to acquit Trump acknowledged that his rhetoric contributed to the January 6 riots.

"While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute," Biden said.

"Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader [Mitch] McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty' and 'practically and morally responsible for provoking' the violence unleashed on the Capitol."
McConnell, as CNN reported, delivered a scathing speech slamming Trump for his role in the January 6 riots, but ultimately refused to support his conviction, deeming the impeachment process unconstitutional.

Biden thanked those who protected the Capitol during the riots and everyone who worked on protecting "the integrity of our democracy" as Trump attacked it.

"This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America," the president said, issuing a call for national unity.

These were Biden's most extensive remarks on impeachment. For the most part, the Democrat has stayed out of the spotlight, letting his party colleagues in the U.S. Congress handle the proceeding.

He has largely avoided discussing the issue, choosing to focus on delivering economic relief to the American people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, as The Hill noted, Biden said Friday that he was "anxious" to see how many GOP lawmakers would have the courage to "stand up" to Trump now that he is no longer in office.

Only seven of them voted to convict Trump: Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

With Trump out of the picture, Democrats have room to implement Biden's agenda. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said Saturday evening that Congress won't move forward to censure the former president.

After being acquitted, Trump issued a statement, telling his supporters that he looks forward to "continuing our incredible journey."