READING, Pa. - Reaction continued to pour in Sunday, a day after the U.S. Senate's acquittal of former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol in January.
A majority of senators said the president was guilty, but the vote fell short of the two-thirds needed for a conviction.
House impeachment managers failed to convince 17 Republicans to vote for a conviction, but seven Republicans did, including Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
"I think Pat Toomey's vote was an honest one. It was not a political one," said Tim Blessing, a professor at Alvernia University in Reading. "He has no political future. He's retiring, and he can retire saying I voted against Donald Trump, and I think that probably pleases him a great deal."
But while Toomey voted to convict, a majority of Senate Republicans acquitted Trump to end his second impeachment trial. Blessing said it all boils down to evidence, or in this case, a lack of it.
"The president's counsel kept saying that they hadn't presented any in-depth information, and he was right," Blessing said. "They were well coordinated. Their media was good, but in terms of coming up with new evidence, they really had very little."
Blessing said about 85% of Republicans back the former president, and the Republicans senators, who also served as the trial's jurors, represent those constituents.
"The people who voted not to convict were voting their constituents views, which is what they're supposed to do," Blessing said.
But Blessing said those who did, including Toomey, don't have much to lose by breaking with the party.
"Very few of them put their political future at stake," he said. "First off, some are retiring. Some represent Maine, Alaska, places where they're probably going to win re-election regardless."
Blessing said, for now, Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party, but he's not so sure the 45th president has a shot at securing a nomination if he can run for a second term in 2024.