They’ve faced sharp backlash from former President Trump and his supporters and been censured by their state parties, all the while facing new threats of primary challenges from the right.
But the House Republicans who voted to impeach him are showing no signs of backing down and are signaling they'd do it again, the latest salvo in the battle over the party’s direction in the aftermath of Trump’s tumultuous tenure in the White House.
“Hell no,” Rep. John Katko of New York told CNN, when asked if he had any regrets for his vote to impeach Trump.
“In eight years in Congress, I probably had a hundred votes that I could have gone either way, and I maybe second-guessed a little bit,” Rep. Tom Rice, the South Carolina Republican who was censured by his state party for his vote, said in an interview. “This is not one of them."
As the Senate gears up for his second impeachment trial starting Tuesday, Trump still remains a polarizing and dominant force in his party. The pro-Trump wing of the House GOP Conference is still the most sizable bloc, while a large contingent of top Senate Republicans are eager to move past the Trump-era and all the controversies that followed, even as they are likely to acquit him.
Over the weekend, Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House GOP leader who was censured by her state party for being just one of 10 House Republicans voting to impeach Trump, asserted that the GOP should “not be embracing the former President.”
Some top Senate Republicans agree.
“I think our party has to be embracing solutions,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, the No. 2 Republican, told CNN Monday when asked about Cheney’s comments. “I think if we want to speak to the issues that people in this country care about, the longer we're tied to a personality, a cult of personality, I just don't think that's a good durable model for the future. That's a debate we are going to be having among Republicans both here and around the country.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who may vote to convict Trump, said in a brief interview, "I think we're in a place where Donald Trump is gone — and in terms of his role in party, that has yet to be determined. But I have not embraced the party of Donald Trump. I'm looking for the Republican Party.”
Yet Trump allies like Sen. Lindsey Graham have long argued that Trump’s support is paramount to winning back the House and Senate in 2022 – while House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy made a trek to Trump’s South Florida golf resort to make amends with the former President.
In the Senate, so far just five GOP senators have indicated they could convict Trump in his impeachment trial – but it’s far short of 17 Republicans who would at least be needed to reach the 67 votes to convict the former President and then later bar him from ever serving in office again.
Asked if backlash from the right is weighing on Republican senators as they decide how to vote, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said, “I don’t know if I’d say it weighs on us, but we’re aware of that in the political context.”
Other GOP senators were cryptic when asked about Cheney’s remarks.
After expressing his concerns about the constitutionality of the impeachment trial, GOP Sen. Roy Blunt was asked was asked about Cheney’s comments about the party not embracing Trump. Instead, he pointed to how the trial is not constitutional in his view.
“Well, embracing your view of the Constitution doesn't mean you're embracing any individual if that's your legitimate view,” said Blunt, who is up for reelection in Missouri, next year. “It’s my legitimate view and that's the only person I can speak for.”
Caught in the middle are a band of Republicans who defied their party and stood up to Trump, voting to impeach him on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. Many are now facing the threats of Trump-inspired primary challengers following their vote to impeach.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington state Republican who also voted to impeach, said, “Heck no” when asked if she had any regrets about her impeachment vote.
“When push comes to shove, I'm gonna stand with the Constitution, which is why I actually I'm at peace with it,” Herrera Beutler said. “Because that's what I said I'd do in the first place."
CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this story.