NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Almost two weeks after voting to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Louisiana Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy says he still feels good about the decision he made despite criticism.
“I am such at peace with that vote. I say that knowing that I’m getting criticized, but I took an oath to support and defend the constitution,” said Cassidy.
Cassidy said on the day of the vote that Trump was guilty as charged in the Article of Impeachment.
Votes against Trump by some Republicans in the Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives has caused rifts in the GOP across the country.
Mike Sherman is FOX 8′s political analyst.
“Right now, there is a battle in the Republican Party between those still loyal to Trump and the mainstream conservatives in the party, but just keep in mind less than a decade ago the Republican Party was also in turmoil, they came roaring back taking control of Congress and then the presidency, so sometimes these internal battles actually lead to a stronger party,” said Sherman.
Cassidy was censured for his vote by the executive committee of the Louisiana Republican Party. But some Republicans say they support Cassidy voting his conscience on February 13.
A billboard near the Jefferson-Orleans Parish line has a picture of Cassidy with wording that says in capitalized letters, “THANK YOU, SEN. CASSIDY FOR DEFENDING THE CONSTITUTION.” Additional wording on the bottom of the sign says it was paid for by the Republican Accountability Project.
FOX 8 asked Cassidy about the billboard.
“When you take a vote like that you recognize that there’s going to be a diversity of opinion and you accept the encouragement and you accept the criticism. This is a Democracy, and it comes with the territory. I took an oath to support and defend the constitution and that oath means I have to take whatever, support, believe me, I appreciate the support and criticism that comes my way,” said Cassidy.
He will not face re-election for nearly six years and Sherman said that is a long time, in terms of the political landscape.
“Six years is a lifetime in politics. We will have had another presidential election before Bill Cassidy is ever on the ballot again, so I think that one vote will be put in context by the time he would be up for re-election,” Sherman stated.
Cassidy responded to a question about whether his vote could hurt his re-election bid, should he seek another term.
“It is six years off but that’s immaterial. I took an oath to support and defend the constitution. If you take such an oath you are supposed to fulfill that oath no matter the consequences,” said Cassidy. “So now let’s speak about Belle Chasse, the folks that defend our country there who took a similar oath or the people at Fort Polk, or all those veterans in our state that took similar oaths. Did someone say, you know, you’re about to go into battle are you sorry you took the oath? They would say no, we’re about to go into battle because we took the oath, similarly, I took that vote because I took that oath.”
Cassidy was also asked whether the Louisiana GOP is focusing too heavily on Trump given he is no longer in office.
“When you say the LA GOP you mean a small group of people, you don’t mean the broader Republican Party. I’ve received comments from folks who are Republicans who object to the vote, I’ve received a heck of a lot of folks who agree with me, or if they don’t agree with me, they respect the kind of thought process that went into it, and so there’s a diversity of opinion among Louisiana Republicans even if there is not among a very small group of people,” Cassidy replied.
Sherman commented on whether Cassidy could face fundraising challenges. “In the short-term, those loyal to Trump certainly will withhold the purse strings from Sen. Cassidy, it doesn’t really matter, he’s not up for re-election for six years,” he said.
And Sherman says though Cassidy remains a staunch conservative he has shown that he can reach across the aisle to achieve bipartisan legislation.
“Bill Cassidy is not just a conservative but a staunch conservative with an impeccable conservative voting record. This one vote on Trump on impeachment really stands apart from his primary voting record which is staunchly conservative,” said Sherman.
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