Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) went on Fox News on Tuesday to say that he is against holding an impeachment trial against Donald Trump because the former president is now a private citizen, and can therefore be prosecuted in the criminal justice system.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto posed the question, “Do you think he provoked that crowd when he said, ‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots.’ Do you think he should be punished for those remarks?”
“Yeah, so if someone makes those remarks, he’s a private citizen,” Rubio replied. “So he’s now — the reason why we have impeachment is the following; you can’t charge a president. So you have to remove them from office and then subject to criminal penalty. That’s why Ford Pardoned Nixon because after he resigned, he could have still been prosecuted. If he did something that rises to that level and that these folks so strongly believe, then the criminal justice system and the civil system is in place to pursue.”
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Cavuto responded by questioning if Trump’s comments were “incendiary enough.”
“I think there’s no doubt that the president bears some responsibility for what happened,” Rubio countered. “If he’s president of the United States, you can’t charge him criminally. You have to impeach him and remove them and then charge him criminally. In this case, he’s a private citizen. If he committed wrongdoing while he was president, the criminal justice system can deal with that. This is not the right use of Congress’ time. It’s vindictive. It’s about revenge.”
This came two days after Rubio said that it would be “arrogant” to impeach Trump just so that he can’t vote in the future.
“I think that’s an arrogant statement for anyone to make,” he said, according to Politico. “Voters get to decide that. Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?”
He added that the impeachment trial is “counterproductive” and will “continue to fuel these divisions that have paralyzed the country.”
“The first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I will do it, because I think it’s really bad for America,” he said.
Rubio followed through on Tuesday night by joining 44 other Republicans in voting against the impeachment trial, arguing that it is unconstitutional.