GOPers Who Scoffed At Trump Impeachment Trial Now Demand One For Biden Official

Senate Republicans are demanding an impeachment trial for Alejandro Mayorkas. They didn't think one was necessary for Trump after Jan. 6.

WASHINGTON ― Republicans are demanding a full Senate trial for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was impeached by the GOP-controlled House earlier this year over charges that even some on the right have decried as thin and a waste of time.

But many of the Republicans who are insisting on a trial for Mayorkas supported an effort to dismiss Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol before it even began. Only five GOP senators bucked their party in voting to allow that trial to proceed.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill this week, several conservative GOP senators said that if Democrats don’t hold a full trial for Mayorkas, the top Biden official in charge of enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border, it would set a precedent and hobble the impeachment process.

“Chuck Schumer intends to nuke the impeachment clause of the United States Constitution,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said of the Democratic Senate majority leader on Tuesday. “What Chuck Schumer is deciding is the Senate no longer has to try impeachments, but instead can hide behind procedural games.”

Republicans also sought to evade charges of hypocrisy after their vote to dismiss the case against Trump in 2021, when he was charged with inciting an insurrection. At the time, Republicans argued that since Trump was no longer president, holding an impeachment trial would be unconstitutional.

“There’s a difference between voting guilty or not guilty after evidence is presented, and tabling articles of impeachment so a trial never takes place at all,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, after a reporter noted the 2021 vote to dismiss Trump’s impeachment trial.

Asked about the GOP’s support for dismissing Trump’s impeachment trial, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told HuffPost: “I don’t recall that worked.”

The January 2021 vote to table Trump’s trial was initiated by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who made a point of order declaring the proceedings unconstitutional. Paul made the motion just a day into the proceedings, before the House could present its impeachment articles against Trump.

Republican senators criticize Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for his expected use of procedural tactics to avoid trying impeached Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Washington, D.C., April 9.
Republican senators criticize Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for his expected use of procedural tactics to avoid trying impeached Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Washington, D.C., April 9.
ALLISON BAILEY via Getty Images

Democrats haven’t announced yet how they plan to handle the trial for Mayorkas, which is scheduled to begin early next week. But they are expected to move to dismiss the charges, which they called baseless and politically motivated, fairly quickly after senators are sworn in as jurors.

“The Senate Republicans know this is a joke,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said. “We should get rid of this as quickly as we can and get back to real business.”

Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a conservative Democrat who often sides with Republicans on border issues, trashed the effort to remove Mayorkas, urging the GOP to focus on taking their case to the voters in the November election.

“If you’re unhappy, go to the polls,” Manchin said. “[The impeachment trial] is basically something I can’t wait to vote against.”

Republicans are hoping their effort to oust Mayorkas will put a spotlight on President Joe Biden’s border policies and increase the pressure on vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in red states, like Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.). Tester criticized the House impeachment of Mayorkas earlier this year, but he’s since kept a low profile and declined to say whether he will vote to dismiss the case.

Several Republican senators could ultimately join with Democrats in voting to dismiss the case, however, including Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

“Once you go into impeachment, you sit there. For what? So we can say how flawed Biden’s immigration policies are? It’s not going to change the outcome,” a frustrated Murkowski told HuffPost on Tuesday, expressing her desire to work on funding the government and authorizing U.S. intelligence programs instead.

Mayorkas, Romney said, shouldn’t lose his job for executing Biden’s policies.

“He has done a terrible job, but he’s following the direction of the president and has not met the constitutional test of a high crime or misdemeanor,” he said.

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