Trump looks to reassert himself after impeachment acquittal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber after the Senate voted not guilty in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on the charge of inciting the January 6 attack on the Congress by a mob of his supporters, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber after the Senate voted not guilty in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on the charge of inciting the January 6 attack on the Congress by a mob of his supporters, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Michael van der Veen, left and Bruce Castor, attorneys from former President Donald Trump, speak with reporters on Capitol Hill after the Senate acquitted Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Trump was accused of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the acquittal gives him a historic second victory in the court of impeachment. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Michael van der Veen, left and Bruce Castor, attorneys from former President Donald Trump, speak with reporters on Capitol Hill after the Senate acquitted Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Trump was accused of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the acquittal gives him a historic second victory in the court of impeachment. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump took in the win at Mar-a-Lago, surrounded by friends and family. His lawyers celebrated with hugs and smiles. One joked, “We’re going to Disney World!”

Now acquitted in his second Senate impeachment trial, Trump is preparing for the next phase of his post-presidency life. Feeling emboldened by the trial’s outcome, he is expected to reemerge from a self-imposed hibernation at his club in Palm Beach, Florida, and is eyeing ways to reassert his power.

But after being barred from Twitter, the former president lacks the social media bullhorn that fueled his political rise. And he’s confronting a Republican Party deeply divided over the legacy of his jarring final days in office, culminating in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. Searing video images of the day played on loop during his impeachment trial, which ended Saturday.

Trump remains popular among the GOP base, but many Republicans in Washington have cooled to him. Never before have so many members of a president’s party — seven GOP senators, in his case — voted for his removal in a Senate trial.

Some may work to counter efforts by Trump to support extreme candidates in next year’s congressional primaries.

Undeterred, friends and allies expect Trump to resume friendly media interviews after weeks of silence. He has met with political aides to discuss efforts to help Republicans try to take control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms elections. He remains fixated on exacting revenge on Republicans who supported his impeachment or resisted his efforts to overturn the results of the November election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

“I imagine you’ll probably be hearing a lot more from him in the coming days,” senior adviser Jason Miller said.

In a statement after the vote, Trump offered few clues, but was defiant as he told supporters their movement “has only just begun.”

“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people,” he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who spoke with Trump on Saturday night, acknowledged that Trump is “mad at some folks,” but also “ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party” and “excited about 2022.”

In their conversations, Graham has stressed to Trump, who has threatened to start his own party to punish disloyal Republicans, that the GOP needs him to win.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, this MAGA movement needs to continue. We need to unite the party. Trump-plus is the way back in 2022,’” Graham, R-S.C., told “Fox News Sunday.”

“My goal is to win in 2022 to stop the most radical agenda I’ve seen coming out of the Democratic presidency of Joe Biden. We can’t do that without Donald Trump, so he’s ready to hit the trail and I’m ready to work with him,” Graham said.

Graham said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to acquit but then delivered a scalding denunciation of Trump, “got a load off a chest, obviously.” Graham said later in the interview: “If you want to get something off your chest, fine, but I’m into winning.”

READ MORE: Former U.S. President Donald Trump acquitted in 2nd impeachment trial

At his Palm Beach club on Saturday night, Trump was in a joyous mood as he enjoyed dinner on a patio packed with people. After a mellow last several weeks, one member described a party atmosphere not felt since before the election.

Still, Trump isn’t in the clear yet. No longer protected by a Justice Department opinion against the prosecution of sitting presidents, he now faces multiple ongoing criminal investigations.

In Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney has opened a criminal investigation into “attempts to influence” the election, including Trump’s call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding that the official find enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory.

In New York, Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of his assets on annual financial statements in order to secure loans and obtain tax benefits. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. continues his own investigation, which has included grand jury testimony.

“He didn’t get away with anything — yet,” McConnell, R-Ky., after the vote. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.”

McConnell voted to acquit Trump on the grounds the trial was unconstitutional because he is no longer in office, but insisted, “There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”

That sharp rebuke from his once-loyal defender underscores how dramatically Trump’s stock has fallen in Washington since his first impeachment trial just over a year ago. But the desire to be rid of Trump is not shared across the country, where Republicans who have dared to admonish him have faced swift rebuke.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was forced to defend her third-in-line leadership position after she voted in favour of impeachment. On Saturday, Louisiana’s Republican Party quickly censured Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the seven Republicans senators who voted for Trump’s conviction.

In an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week,” Cassidy seemed at peace with his decision.

“I think his force wanes,” he said of Trump. “The Republican Party is more than just one person. The Republican Party is about ideas.”

But how long Trump retains his grip remains an open question, especially with a slew of likely 2024 candidates now trying to take the mantle.

Some, like Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, are advocating a clean break from Trump, who ended his presidency with a record low 34% approval rating according to Gallup polling. Others have stressed the need to keep his voters engaged, perhaps with candidates who trumpet the policies Trump championed, but with a less caustic style that might win back suburban voters.

In a sign of his enduring power, the Republican National Committee and other groups spent the trial sending fundraising appeals urging their followers to “Stand with Trump” and “SAVE President Trump’s Legacy,” in the words of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Oh, time is going to take care of that some way or another,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters Saturday. “But remember, in order to be a leader you got to have followers. So we’re gonna find out, whoever leads. But everybody’s going to be involved. We’re a big tent.”

While the Senate failed to bar Trump from running again for office, many believe he has done too much damage to be a credible candidate himself in 2024.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is retiring, said Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election had “very badly damaged his reputation,” eclipsing his accomplishments in office.

“Instead,” Toomey said, “he’ll be remembered throughout history as the president who resorted to nonlegal steps to try to hold on to power.”

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Pictured is mosquito larvae in a body of water. (City of Cranbrook file)
Cranbrook mosquito control program underway

Early tests identify a possible boom in the local mosquito population

Crews and volunteers responded to a four-hectare wildfire on the lower half of the Aqam community lands near Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.
Wildfire season gets early start in the East Kootenay

Fire crews, volunteers respond to two local wildfires, while prescribed burns turn weekend skies smoky

Clockwise from top left: The Studio Stage Door (Barry Coulter photo); Spencer Kerr (left) and Ferdy Belland, have along with Casey Wright purchased the historic Armond Theatre in downtown Cranbrook (Barry Coulter photo); St. Eugene Mission Resort (Jim Cameron photo); Juniper Lanes Bowling Alley (Trevor Crawley photo)
Cranbrook’s Heritage Buildings: The Age Of Restoration

Cranbrook History Centre’s next “Ed Talk,” April 28, is “Building Community in Heritage Buildings”

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kimberley's Steve Tersmette has published Waterfall Hikes In Southern British Columbia, documenting 100 of the areas waterfalls.

Most Read