GOP Sen. Cassidy: Trump’s 'force wanes' following Capitol riot

The Louisiana senator argues that Republicans want a leader 'they can trust'

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict former President Trump in his second impeachment trial, said on Sunday that he believes Trump’s "force wanes," arguing that the Republican Party wants "a leader who’s accountable and a leader who they can trust."

Cassidy made the comments on ABC’s "This Week" the morning after Trump was acquitted in an unprecedented second impeachment trial on the charge of inciting an insurrection for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, making him the first and only president to be impeached and acquitted twice in history.

On Saturday, Trump thanked his lawyers and senators who voted against his impeachment conviction and foreshadowed his political future in a statement following the 57-43 Senate vote to acquit him of inciting an insurrection. 

"This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country," Trump said. "No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago."

Had Trump been convicted, the Senate would have moved to bar the 45th president from holding federal office ever again.

On Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Cassidy what he thinks happens next for Trump and if he thinks the former president will "remain a force in the Republican Party."

"I think his force wanes," Cassidy responded. "The Republican Party is more than just one person. The Republican Party is about ideas."

"We were the party that was founded to end slavery," he continued. "We were the party that preserved the union. We were the party that passed the first civil rights law. We were the party that ended the Cold War, we are the party that before COVID, had an economy that had record low unemployment for everyone, the disabled, the high school dropout, the veteran, the woman, the Black, the Hispanic, you name it."

TRUMP ACQUITTED IN SECOND IMPEACHMENT TRIAL ON CHARGE OF INCITING JAN. 6 CAPITOL RIOT

He then stressed that the GOP "is the party of ideas."

"The American people want those ideas, but they want a leader who’s accountable and a leader who they can trust," Cassidy went on to say.

"I think our leadership will be different going forward, but it will still be with those ideas."

The Republican senator issued a statement explaining his vote saying, "Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty."

Stephanopoulos asked Cassidy on Sunday why he thought Trump was guilty and when did he make up his mind.

In response, Cassidy said he "listened very carefully to all the arguments," but came to his conclusion based on his description of insurrection, which he said is "an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power."

"We can see the president for two months after the election promoting that the election was stolen… he then scheduled the rally for January the 6, just when the transfer of power [was] to take place, and he brought together a crowd, but a portion of that was transformed into a mob and when they went into the Capitol, it was clear that he wished that lawmakers be intimidated," he said.

"And even after he knew there was violence taking place, he continued to basically sanction the mob being there and not until later did he actually ask them to leave."

"All of that points to a motive and a method and that is wrong," Cassidy continued. "He should be held accountable." 

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The Louisiana GOP said Saturday that it unanimously voted to censure Cassidy because of his vote.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas, Tyler Olson, Evie Fordham and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.