by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When you get a chance to talk to a Republican senator off the record, you feel like you’re about to get the juicy inside scoop — particularly when the topic is something as big and consequential as impeachment.
Then reality sets in and you realize that what a senator thinks off the record is pretty much the same as what the senator says on the record.
This may not shock you, but it turns out that behind closed doors, and when they’re assured they will not be identified or quoted directly . . . pro-Trump Republican senators still aren’t convinced the president should be impeached. There are no signs of doubt, inner conflict, guilt, wavering, or any other indication that they fear they would be doing the wrong or unwise course by voting against removal. They largely concur with President Trump’s assessment that this impeachment is a partisan vendetta, a last-minute substitution for the impeachment over Russia that special counsel Robert Mueller was supposed to gift-wrap and hand-deliver. These senators haven’t forgotten the previous votes on impeachment or other signals like Rashida Tlaib’s off-color rallying cry and T-shirt marketing gimmick. They believe that this is ultimately driven by a portion of the Democratic party that simply cannot accept the results of the 2016 election — that this is a continuation of a years-long argument.