Posted by 04 February 2020
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has proposed an idea to bring the parties together over impeachment – censuring President Trump.
In a floor speech following the presentation of the impeachment case by the House managers, the centrist Democrat suggested that one way forward would be to censure President Trump for his handling of Ukrainian aid. He said that such a move could receive bipartisan support.
A censure would express the sense of the Senate that the President had acted improperly by withholding Ukrainian aid in exchange for the announcement of an investigation into Hunter Biden. The resolution could condemn the president’s actions and spell out what the senators think he did wrong. It would have no force of law and would not have any effect on the president’s tenure in office.
Sen. Manchin argues that this step would show that the Senate does not agree with what the president did, and would stand in history as a way for the Senate to express that condemnation. Opponents, however, argue that it is merely a way to look like the Senate is taking action against Trump without actually doing anything.
The Senate has used its censure powers in the past, but only rarely. It censured President Andrew Jackson in 1834, but rescinded that censure three years later. The body has also censured 9 senators.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not been receptive to the idea of censuring the president. Sen. Manchin has not announced whether he will vote to support removing President Trump from office.