President Donald Trump was acquitted on both charges of impeachment late Wednesday afternoon. Progressive organizations wasted little time training their fire on who they viewed as the culprits responsible for the Democratic Party’s backfiring fiasco: Senate Republicans–all of whom except for one voted to acquit.
“The decision of 52 United States Senators to vote that President Donald Trump has not committed bribery or other high crimes or misdemeanors is a grave dereliction of duty that not only emboldens an increasingly unrestrained and lawless president, but endangers the survival of our constitutional democracy,” said the group Free Speech for Free People, which is committed to passing a constitutional amendment outlawing the Citizens United decision, in a press release.
Democracy for America (DFA), which has played a pivotal role in the progressive movement since forming out of the ashes of Howard Dean‘s failed 2004 campaign for president, was more direct in their criticism, calling the Senate proceedings “a sham trial devoid of witnesses” and accusing the GOP of facilitating a “cover-up” of “Trump’s reckless abuse of power in the White House.”
DFA Chair Charles Chamberlain promised a thorough reckoning:
Today’s votes by Senate Republicans after this sham impeachment trial are a travesty. America will not forget what Senate Republicans did today and we are more committed than ever to defeating every single coward who just voted to cover up Donald Trump’s crimes in office.
“Every. Single. One,” Chamberlain noted for emphasis.
The influential group went on to note that they have already endorsed progressive candidates Betsy Sweet and Jamie Harrison against incumbent Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), respectively. DFA also said they planned to announce “a number of additional U.S. Senate endorsements specifically targeting Republicans who assisted with” Trump’s acquittal–which the group unfavorably characterized as a series of “votes to cover up Donald Trump’s White House crimes.”
People for the American Way’s Marge Baker criticized Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his caucus for immediately swinging back toward judicial appointments in the aftermath of the Democrats’ failed impeachment effort–and also predicted an electoral bloodbath for Republicans.
“They only care about power, and will use the courts and judicial nominees to hang onto it at any cost just as they have abused their authority on every other front,” she said. “Voters will remember that in November.”
Congressional Democrats were also quick to pledge a full-scale electoral assault on the GOP over the Democratic Party’s impeachment debacle.
“Democratic candidates are running across the country, up and down the ballot, to fight for our progressive values and unseat the right-wing extremists hell-bent on protecting the status quo,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in an email fundraising pitch for her leadership PAC.
Promising to support and elect “a new era of progressive leaders” Omar said she and her supporters were “angry because we should be” and faulted the Senate GOP for their inability to “hold this illegitimate president accountable.”
Fellow firebrand progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) also criticized the GOP’s acquittal vote with sharp language–piggybacking off of a tweet by one-time progressive powerhouse group MoveOn.org which accused Senate Republicans of “just knowingly allowed a criminal to get off scot-free.”
“Each and every one of their names will go down in the history books as having betrayed our nation,” MoveOn continued. “It’s time to vote these cover-up collaborators out.”
“It’s worse than letting a criminal get off,” Tlaib said. “Their vote created a dictatorship.”
The GOP, in response, was defiant and promised quite the opposite.
“The American people will not forget how Democrats tried to divide our country with a baseless impeachment sham,” tweeted GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel. “On Nov. 3, Democrats will reap what they have sowed when voters resoundingly reject their obstructionism and vote to reelect [Donald Trump]!”
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]