Not a single person in the U.S. Senate can be an “impartial juror” on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office, Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted Thursday.
The Florida Republican said all 100 senators, including him, have a “preexisting opinion” of Trump, noting that seven of his colleagues have run for president to replace him.
“Sen. Warren decided to convict before the House even revealed the Articles,” Rubio tweeted.
Rubio’s comments the morning after the House impeachment vote signal support for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, under immense criticism from Democrats for declaring that he was “not an impartial juror" in the impeachment trial of Trump.
McConnell has also said he is in lockstep with the White House on how to proceed, leading to unfavorable comparisons to a previous Senate leader, Tom Daschle, the Democrat who oversaw the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Daschle reportedly took steps to distance the Senate from the administration during the impeachment proceedings.
It was the Democrats, not McConnell, that Rubio warned were turning the impeachment into a partisan affair. He attributed this to reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may delay transmission of the articles to ensure the Senate takes certain steps during its trial.
“It it will be the kind of partisan political stunt that further undermines the credibility of the process carried out by House Democrats,” he tweeted.
Rubio has remained relatively subdued during the impeachment hearings, unlike his fellow Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, a frequent and outspoken critic of House Democrats. Still, Rubio has given little indication he would consider voting to remove Trump, his one-time rival in the 2016 Republican primary.
Rather, he said the bar to do so is very high and projected skepticism the Democrat’s case may not reach out. He also indicated he may be inclined to punt the question for voters to decide next year.
“My decision will be guided by 2 factors," he tweeted. “1. Conviction carries a mandatory & extraordinary minimum sentence, removal from office 2. An alternative remedy is available, the 2020 election.”