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After Trump’s acquittal, some supporters eager to see him on the ballot in 2024

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HONESDALE, PA. Brian O’Neill believes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Is the one who should be impeached.

“For putting him through this,” said O’Neill, 53, a resident of the Trump-backed city of 4,000 in northeastern Pennsylvania, referring to former President Donald Trump, who was acquitted by the Senate for incitement to insurrection. . House impeachment officials, supporting a case backed up by a heartbreaking video of the deadly January 6 riot on the United States Capitol, which Trump was accused of inciting, have garnered the most bipartisan support for condemnation in the history of impeachment.

Of the procedure, O’Neill said, “I have never seen such injustice. It was a whole lot of nonsense.”

Terry Smith, 73, a retired mechanic, said he was “relieved” that Trump was acquitted, adding that the lawsuit was a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and everyone’s time.

Smith and O’Neill, like the more than a dozen other Trump voters polled in three counties in northeastern Pennsylvania that Trump easily transported in November, said they were energized by his second impeachment and the dreadful warnings from House Democrats that he was a danger to democracy that must be condemned and banned from holding federal office again. Both have voted for Trump twice, and both have said they are eager to do so a third time.

Charlie Carretti, a retiree from Honesdale who worked in publishing, said: “The guy did a great job as president, and the Democrats just don’t want to give him that.” He called the impeachment case a “joke, masquerade and waste of time” designed by Democrats “only to hurt the guy.”

Carretti, 70, said he hoped Trump would run again in 2024 and that Trump, as his impeachment defense lawyers argued, was blameless for the violent Capitol mob.

“What happened there was disgusting, but there is no way Donald Trump provoked it,” Carretti said, specifically highlighting Trump’s words at the January 6 rally “Stop the Steal “urging his supporters to march” towards the Capitol building for peace. and make your voice heard patriotically. “

“These people should be held responsible. But there was no way Trump instigated them. He had nothing to do with it. It was a bunch of jobs and psychopath that did it,” Carretti said.

Serena Woolley, 23, Republican, said: “Trump shouldn’t have been indicted. And I don’t think he should have been convicted.”

Woolley did not vote in the election as opposed to the two candidates. Trump is “not my favorite person, but he should be able to run again if he wants to,” she said.

Even though some mainstream Republicans have sought to use Trump’s trial and the case that Democratic House impeachment officials have presented about his conduct before, during and after the riot to draw a clear line between Trump and other GOP members, at least one poll indicates Trump is still the first choice of Republican voters.

The poll, conducted by Morning Consult and Politico for two days after the Senate acquittal, found that 59 percent of Republican voters believed Trump should play a “major role” in the future of the Republican Party. Fifty-four percent of Republican voters said they would back Trump in a hypothetical 2024 primary, the poll found.

Trump, clarifying that he understands all the influence he continues to hold, promised in a statement moments after being acquitted that “our historic, patriotic and magnificent movement for Make America Great Again is only just beginning.”

Highlighting the growing divisions within his party, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said in a scathing speech after voting to acquit Trump on procedural grounds that Trump was “virtually and morally responsible “for the riot.

Strategists, however, said that such strong voter support proves that the party wing still firmly in Trump’s corner will wield significant influence, if not dominate the GOP leadership, for the foreseeable future.

“The Republican base has been loyal to Trump for a long time, and they are not going to change their loyalty overnight,” veteran Republican strategist Alex Conant said. “Trump was still president less than a month ago. It will take time for the party to reinvent itself.”

Conant said how much and how quickly the party could change “depends on what Trump, the Republican leaders and the Democrats” will all do over the next year, but that for now, pro-Trump elements within the party remain powerful.

Those who break with Trump face significant backlash.

For example, Smith, the retired mechanic, called Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., One of seven Republican Senators who joined all Democrats in voting to condemn Trump, “a jerk” for his vote.

“I would never support him again if he ran,” he said of Toomey, who is not running for office next year.

Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump and the seven Senate Republicans who voted to condemn him, several have been censored or face censorship by their state parties, including Toomey.

Trump himself appears to have started fighting back against all the lawmakers who voted or spoke out against him during his trial.

On Tuesday night, he called McConnell an “austere, brooding and unsmiling political hack” in a lengthy statement.

“He doesn’t have what it takes,” Trump wrote. “Never done and never will be.”

Further down, Trump added: “When necessary and appropriate, I will support the main rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our America First policy.”

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