(Updated) WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, voted to acquit President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment.
Ernst announced her decision late Tuesday in a speech on the Senate floor. She explained her decision on a press call Wednesday morning.
“The articles of impeachment sent over from the House clearly do not define anything that the president has done that rises to the level of impeachment,” Ernst told reporters.
Ernst was questioned about her remarks on Sunday in an interview with Bloomberg that former Vice President Joe Biden could be impeached over Ukraine should he win the presidential election.
“The bar has been set so low by the Democrats that virtually anybody, but virtually anybody of the opposite party from the party that is in the House that is occupying the White House could be brought up on whatever the heck anybody wants to bring them up on. And take our country though this horrible, partisan, political impeachment process,” Ernst responded during the press call.
In her Senate floor speech on Tuesday she cautioned against removing the president saying it would take away the ability of the American people to make their own decision at the ballot box in November.
“(T)he Founders were rightfully concerned that impeachment might be used to upend the electoral will of the American people. Absent restraint, the impeachment process would be all too tempting for those that oppose a sitting President to simply use it as a tool to achieve political advantage,” Ernst said.
“The House Managers’ arguments have argued that the American people cannot be trusted to render their own judgment on this president. I reject this premise and the complete distrust of the American people with everything in my heart. To do this would set a new and dangerous precedent in American history,” she added.
She also cautioned senators from allowing impeachment to become the norm and called on the Senate to come together to continue its work for the American people.
“I pray that we do not allow this to become the norm. I also pray earnestly that we will shift into a spirit of cohesiveness, coming together to get our work done for the American people. Our people, our Founders, our country, and my great state of Iowa, deserve better than this,” she concluded.
Watch her full remarks below: