Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from a red state, said Monday he believed President Trump should be censured, which would show a strong rebuke of the president’s actions.
“I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions. In this manner, censure would allow this body to unite across party lines,” Mr. Manchin said. “His behavior cannot go unchecked.”
The West Virginia Democrat acknowledged there is not enough votes to convict the president, and he said the Senate did not fulfill the Constitution’s call for a fair trial by not hearing from more witnesses or subpoenaing more evidence.
He said the Senate let “tribal politics rule the day.”
“This body was short-changed with a majority of my Republican colleagues… voting to move forward without relevant witnesses and evidence,” Mr. Manchin said on the chamber floor. “History will judge the Senate harshly.”
Mr. Trump was impeached on a party-line vote by House Democrats on Dec. 18, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from a July phone call with the Ukrainian president where Mr. Trump requested a probe into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden while withholding financial aid to Ukraine.
“It was not a perfect call,” Mr. Manchin said, though he said removing a president from office at this time could further divide the nation.
Censure has long been a controversial idea for a Congress unable to find the votes to remove a president, but eager to make a statement.
President Andrew Jackson was censured by the Senate after he refused to turn over documents to a congressional probe.
He argued there is no power in the Constitution to censure, so it was illegal.
When his party retook control of the Senate it expunged the censure from the books.