The North Carolina Republican Party unanimously approved a resolution Monday to censure Sen. Richard Burr over his vote to convict former President Donald Trump during Trump’s second impeachment trial.
Michael Whatley, the state party chairman, said the central committee's decision serves as a symbolic gesture of the party's opposition to Burr's action.
“It’s important for the party to go ahead and put out a vote and a statement that it disagrees with Senator Burr’s vote, but in terms of practical impacts, it is just that. It’s a resolution,” Whatley said.
Burr, who has been in Congress for 26 years, including the last 16 as a senator, is one of several Republicans to be censured by state and county parties for voting for Trump's impeachment.
The senator announced in 2016 that he would retire from politics after his final term and not seek reelection in 2022. Burr previously voted to dismiss the impeachment trial on the basis that it was unconstitutional to impeach a president who was no longer in office.
But in a move that startled some members of his party, Burr joined six of his GOP colleagues in convicting Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” He then said in a statement that the Senate's vote to proceed with the trial established a precedent that a former president could be impeached.
“I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary,” Burr stated. “By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Ultimately, Trump was acquitted of the charge because the 57-43 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for conviction.
Since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that claimed the lives of five people, Trump has continued to hold influence over state parties. Amid harsh critiques from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a growing number of investigations into Trump’s role in sowing discord following his electoral defeat, the former president remains popular with his a vocal segment of the Republican Party, which party officials will need if they want to reclaim the House or Senate in the upcoming midterms.
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