INDIANAPOLIS – In their first interviews since the violent insurrection in the nation’s capital earlier this month, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) both appeared on this week’s edition of IN Focus to discuss the looming impeachment trial in the Senate, and their hopes moving forward for their party and our nation.
Indiana’s senators have taken a somewhat divergent approach on some of the more controversial rhetoric that has dominated the political landscape in recent weeks. Braun initially opposed certifying the Presidential election results (though he ultimately voted to certify after the violent uprising) while Young was more outspoken about the need to acknowledge the results and complete the process laid out by the Constitution.
“I think we need to name and shame members of the media who were out there perpetuating mistruths and deceiving individuals. I think the same applies to politicians who are out there perpetuating things that are completely false and deceiving constituents,” said Young, without mentioning any specific names.
“We solve our disputes peacefully in this country. We don’t march in the streets of Indianapolis and bash in windows or loot stores. We certainly don’t descend into the cathedral of democracy and ransack the place, so everyone should be held to account,” continued Young. “We need to come together though. We need to heal. I’m glad that President Biden set that tone throughout his campaign (and) his inaugural address. Now he needs to follow through and where a hand is extended I’m prepared to work with him on behalf of all Hoosiers just like I worked with President Trump.”
Young has made efforts at finding middle ground in recent weeks. He introduced transportation nominee and former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg at his confirmation hearing this month. Young has also worked with a bi-partisan group of senators working on finding common ground on key issues being discussed in Congress, including the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.
But recent reports indicate Democrats may be looking at moving forward on President Biden’s plan even if it comes without Republican support, using what’s known as the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation with a mere majority in the Senate instead of the typical filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold.
In the video above, see more of Young and Braun’s remarks on the new administration, and the looming impeachment trial scheduled to begin Feb. 9th.
Based on their public statements, neither Young nor Braun sound likely to convict the former President, who stands charged of inciting the deadly insurrection in D.C. earlier this month.
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t listen to the evidence but I think the views of most Hoosiers, and a view I share, and even some Democrats (is that) we have a new president. President Trump is now a private citizen. There are avenues to hold accountable private citizens like our federal court, so in the meantime, we should be spending the vast majority of our time emerging from this pandemic, resorting our economy and doing things that benefit the American people and their daily lives, so we really need to move on from this as soon as possible,” said Young.
“What happened on that day was not something anyone would have intended to occur,” said Braun. “It’s always more complicated than what it appears to be on the surface. As part of this country, if you’re castigated and demonized for an opinion that’s different than others, at least have a chance to air it out and get it straight.”
As for Braun’s initial plans to vote against certification?
“My intention all along never was on record as overturning the results or decertifying. It was just acknowledging that in a crazy year that we’ve had with COVID and the more I investigated it, in many of these places, election commissions and local jurisdictions actually changed the rules and it was done legally, maybe not constitutionally,” said Braun. “It’s gotten to where you can’t even question something or you have words put into your mouth like you were trying to overturn something, that was never my intention.”
Braun said he would oppose the idea of censuring the former President in lieu of conviction, saying Democrats would only “get one bite at the apple” and that he felt it was time to move forward.
“I don’t think you can excuse what did occur and what was encouraged by pushing the envelope on the part of the President,” said Braun. “Obviously he’ll have to get that reconciled but he’s not in office anymore.”
Sen. Young also said he hopes his party can move forward and focus on key issues that matter to voters in the years ahead, particularly as the nation emerges from the ongoing pandemic.
“You cannot keep a party together, congeal a majority party, based on anger and resentment,” said Young. “Instead it takes empathy and actual resolution of challenges that people are facing.”
We also spoke with Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) who voted for President Trump’s second impeachment in the House.
“No one is above the law and Donald Trump must be tried and convicted by the Senate to ensure that no future president ever thinks that he or she can do the same thing and get away with it,” said Carson, who also struck a note of optimism about the new administration in place.
“The new administration has hit the ground running, addressing urgent priorities and keeping its promises to Americans,” Carson said.
In the video below, see more of our interview with Sen. Braun and his thoughts on Biden’s cabinet nominees, including Buttigieg (who Braun said he would vote to confirm) and HHS nominee Xavier Becerra who Braun spoke with earlier this week. Though he said it was a productive conversation, Braun said he was not likely to vote for Becerra’s confirmation.