The North Carolina GOP Central Committee has unanimously voted to censure Senator Richard Burr for his “vote to convict former President Trump in the impeachment trial which he declared to be unconstitutional.”
“The NCGOP agrees with the strong majority of Republicans in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that the Democrat-led attempt to impeach a former President lies outside the United States Constitution,” the organization said in a statement Monday evening. “Now that the Senate has voted to acquit President Trump, we hope that Democrats will set aside their divisive partisan agenda and focus on the American priorities of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, safely reopening schools and restarting the economy.”
“It is truly a sad day for North Carolina Republicans,” Sen. Burr said in a statement. “My party’s leadership has chosen loyalty to one man over the core principles of the Republican Party and the founders of our great nation.”
Burr is among seven GOP senators who joined with all Democrats in finding Trump guilty on the charge of inciting an insurrection, including Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
While some of the other Republican senators’ votes were expected, Burr’s came as a surprise. Burr has said he will not seek reelection in 2022.
“North Carolina Republicans sent Senator Burr to the United States Senate to uphold the Constitution and his vote today to convict in a trial that he declared unconstitutional is shocking and disappointing,” NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement.
Burr had voted that the Trump impeachment trial was unconstitutional but later voted to convict Trump.
“When this process started, I believed that it was unconstitutional to impeach a president who was no longer in office. I still believe that to be the case. However, the Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority in the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent,” Burr said in a statement on Saturday.
“I have listened to the arguments presented by both sides and considered the facts. The facts are clear. … The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict,” he continued.
Burr is not alone in facing backlash. The Louisiana GOP said Saturday that it unanimously voted to censure Cassidy because of his vote. The state Republican central committee is expected to consider at least eight separate resolutions to censure him when it meets next month.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Burr’s vote will make the former president’s daughter-in-law – Lara Trump – a shoe-in to win the 2022 Republican nomination to succeed Burr.
Fox News’ inquiry to Burr’s office was not immediately returned.
Fox News’ Lucas Manfredi, Marisa Schultz, Paul Steinhauser and Brie Stimson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.