After weeks of resistance, Republicans in the Senate are starting to crumble in the face of Democrat demands.
Senate Republicans initially presented a united front against the House impeachment inquiry, but there is now a rift developing in the party. Senate Republicans are now showing alarming signs of caving as Democrats are demanding witnesses in the Senate trial.
Republican unity in question
Democrats controlled impeachment proceedings from the start. When they locked out House Republicans of the impeachment inquiry there was no thought given to the precedent that would be set.
Now they want the Senate trial to include more witnesses and “fact-finding” against President Trump.
As conservative political commentator Joel B. Pollak wrote on Breitbart, “To hear Republicans take all of this seriously — debating witnesses and the like — is infuriating. Why should Democrats be able to call a single witness after denied Republicans the ability to call any witnesses of their own in the House inquiry?”
For the last month, Republicans appeared united against the bullying of House leadership, but now there is a small contingent of GOP senators who want to give in and call witnesses in the impeachment trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) originally wanted to dismiss the charges outright but has since modified his position due to growing resistance in the party to the notion.
Now, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) have both signaled that they may want to hear from witnesses. While Democrats are united on impeaching Trump, Republicans are beginning to fracture and could give in. This could have huge consequences in the 2020 election.
House Democrats who voted for impeachment in swing states are suffering for their decision already, and many are speculating that Republicans could very well take the House back in 2020 because of it.
However, Senate Republicans could find themselves in the crosshairs as well if they don’t stand up to Democrats. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is already facing backlash from his constituents for his decision to call for witnesses in the trial.
Trump’s voter base acts independently of the Republican party, and Republican senators can’t count on the support of voters if they aren’t willing to defend the President.
It is also paramount that Republicans send the message that Democrats cannot run roughshod over Republicans in the House or the Senate. Pollack warned Senate leadership, “Conservatives will not forgive Senate Republicans if they buckle and bow to an illegitimate House process or Democrats’ outrageous witness demands.”