Former President Donald Trump cheered his impeachment acquittal Saturday after the Senate voted 57-43 against holding him accountable for inciting the violent storming of the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
The vote fell well short of the two-thirds needed to convict Trump as seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict the former president.
Trump lauded his acquittal as the end of “yet another chapter in the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
The ex-president vowed to use his vindication as a springboard to return to the political arena even after the wide condemnation of his actions on Jan. 6.
“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Trump wrote in a statement. “I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together.”
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said history would harshly judge Trump and the GOP lawmakers who let him off the hook.
“The failure to convict former President Trump will live as a vote of infamy in the Senate,” Schumer said in a fiery speech after the acquittal. “This was about choosing country over Donald Trump and 43 Republican members chose Trump. Let it be a weight on their conscience.”
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to acquit Trump, said Trump’s actions amounted to “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
The historic impeachment trial moved to a quick conclusion after Democratic lawmakers backed off an explosive effort to call witnesses, a process that might’ve extended the proceedings by days.
Trump’s defense derided the impeachment effort as a partisan sham that did not adhere to due process. They said Trump’s fiery speech was protected by the First Amendment, even though the impeachment is not a criminal trial.