N.C. Republican Party censures Sen. Richard Burr over impeachment vote

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the nomination Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to be labor secretary on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Republican Party voted unanimously on Monday, Feb. 15 to censure Sen. Richard Burr following his vote to convict former President Donald Trump of impeachment two days earlier.

Burr, a three-term Republican, was one of seven Republican senators to join all 50 Democrats in convicting Trump of the single charge of incitement of insurrection.

In a statement, the members of the state’s central committee said,

“Tonight, the North Carolina Republican Party Central Committee voted unanimously 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.

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.”

The central committee is composed of activists from each of the state’s 13 Congressional districts as well as the state party’s leadership, auxiliary club chairs, and other prominent activists.

Shortly after the NCGOP’s announcement, Sen. Burr said, “It is truly a sad day for North Carolina Republicans. 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.”

Trump won the state’s 15 electoral votes in both 2016 and 2020.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said in an interview on Fox News Sunday, “My friend Richard Burr just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs,” another sign of displeasure over Burr’s vote.

In a statement, Burr said, “I have listened to the arguments presented by both sides and considered the facts. The facts are clear. 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.”

Sen. Burr continued, “As an impartial juror, my role is to determine whether House managers have sufficiently made the case for the article of impeachment against President Trump. 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.”

Burr finished, saying, “I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary. By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”