As the U.S. Senate prepares to conduct an impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, the only unresolved issue seems to be how many Republicans will march in lockstep with the Democrats to punish Trump weeks after he left office.
Sen. Marco Rubio does not appear to be among them.
In an interview with Fox News, the Florida Republican said Trump does bear some responsibility for the tragic Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
But he also called the upcoming trial “stupid,” as well as unconstitutional, and equated it to pouring gasoline on a raging fire.
“First of all, I think the trial is stupid,” Rubio told “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think it’s counterproductive. We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.”
To draw an example, Rubio noted that former President Richard Nixon had “clearly” committed crimes while in office, but that all Americans should agree that President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon was “important for the country to be able to move forward.”
Rubio also said Trump is entitled to due process, and to present a defense, especially since the Democratic-led House didn’t produce many witnesses and “rammed it through very quickly.”
“Obviously, fairness is important, no matter who it is we’re talking about,” said Rubio.
“But I just want to repeat; I think this is going to be really bad for the country. It’s going to take us — not just is it going to keep us from focusing on really important things, but it’s also just going to stir it up even more and make it even harder to get things done moving forward.”
“All I’m arguing is, we have some really important things to work on. You want to really kind of bring the country together and remember once again how we can get things done; it isn’t by uniformity on all the issues. It’s about working through a process that allows people with different points of view to debate all that and get to a solution for the country,” he added.
“All that — we’re just going to go — we’re going to jump right back into what we’ve been going through for the last five years and stirring it up again with a trial. And it’s just going to be bad for the country. It really is.”
Rubio said he would vote to stop the trial because it’s unconstitutional since Trump is out of office.
But mostly he wants to avoid a heated situation that would be “really bad for America.”
“This is not a criminal justice trial, this is a political process, and ultimately it is a political process that’s going to inject things into our public discourse, into our debates, that’s going to make it harder to get important things done,” Rubio said.
“And it’s just going to continue to fuel these divisions that have paralyzed the country and have turned us into a country of people that hate each other.”