Few Senate Republicans have indicated a willingness to vote against Trump, making the 67-vote threshold required to convict him a dim proposition for Democratic leaders. When asked whether Senate Democrats could pursue a censure, Schumer suggested all options were up for consideration.
“I think the president should be tried. I hope he will vote to be convicted,” Schumer told reporters. “Anything past that is something we can discuss, but he deserves conviction, nothing less.”
Trump’s conviction on a single count of incitement of insurrection is considered a longshot after just five Republicans voted in favor of proceeding with the trial. GOP leaders, including Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have raised questions about the constitutionality of impeaching a former president even after they condemned Trump role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
If the Senate achieves the 67-vote threshold required to convict Trump, a simple majority vote could bar the former president from holding political office in the future. Democrats have already signaled they plan to support the second vote if the first one passes.
A censure would function as a nonbinding public rebuke of Trump’s actions. Congressional lawmakers lack the legal authority to otherwise reprimand Trump if the trial falls short of conviction.
Lawmakers in favor of a censure, including Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have suggested it could be coupled with the 14th Amendment to block Trump from holding office in the future. However, the legality of that assertion has yet to be determined.