NEWS & ANALYSIS

‘DEAD ON ARRIVAL’: Rand Paul, 45 GOP Senators Vote to Dismiss Trump’s Impeachment as Unconstitutional


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) called for a procedural vote Tuesday on the Senate trial to impeach Donald Trump, arguing the upper chamber should not proceed on the rushed article filed by House democrats for one simple reason: Trump no longer holds office and is now a private citizen. 

To no surprise, 45 out of 50 fellow republican senators agreed, voting against the trial they view as unconstitutional. 

Paul took to social media, calling the trial “dead on arrival.” . 

“The Senate just voted on my constitutional point of order,” he tweeted. “45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional. That is more than will be needed to acquit and eventually end this partisan impeachment process. This ‘trial’ is dead on arrival in the Senate.” 

Only five GOP senators, who you may suspect, voted in favor of the trial: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of UTah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska. 

In a Senate floor speech prior to the vote, Paul urged how hypocritical it is to hold an “unconstitutional” trial of a private citizen. 

“Democrats claim to want to unify the country, but impeaching a former president, a private citizen, is the antithesis of unity,” he said.  

So, how is the mainstream media covering this? Let’s take a look. 

In an NBC article, they referred to the vote as “failed.” 

“Forty-five Senate republicans voted Tuesday to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional. The motion failed by a vote of 45-55, enabling the trial to move forward.” 

While the vote may not have “passed” in terms of stopping the trial from moving forward, it certainly did not fail. Ultimately, it shows that an overwhelming number of Senators believe the trial is unconstitutional. 

The article also leaves hope that the 45 Senators will still vote to convict Trump. 

“For many Republicans, an argument over the legality serves as a process-based justification to acquit Trump. The vote doesn’t necessarily indicate the final outcome, as some senators who voted to dismiss haven’t ruled out a conviction.” 

But, as Paul said following the vote, “If you voted that it was unconstitutional, how in the world would you ever vote to convict somebody for this?”

“45 of us, almost the entire caucus, 95% of the caucus, voted that the whole proceeding was unconstitutional. This is a big victory for us. Democrats can beat this partisan horse as long as they want — this vote indicates it’s over, the trial is all over,” he added. 

In a CNN article, they seemed to accept the fate that conviction is now unlikely. The title speaks for itself: “Rand Paul calls impeachment ‘dead on arrival’ after most Republicans signal that trial is unconstitutional” 

“Even those Republicans who voted against Paul’s measure — including Collins — said Tuesday’s vote was a sign of the eventual outcome of the trial,” the article reads. 

“‘Do the math,’ she said. ‘I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that the President will be convicted.’” 

“The Democratic-led House has already voted to impeach Trump, charging him with incitement of insurrection for the attack on the Capitol that left multiple people dead. But two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to convict Trump after a trial, an extremely high bar to clear,” it continues. 

Regardless of how the media covers it, the bottom line is this. 

In order to convict Donald Trump, the Senate would need a two-thirds majority vote, which means 17 GOP senators would need to vote with the democrats. 

But, with 45 senators voting that a trial would be unconstitutional, that outcome is highly unlikely.