U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says forgoing a run for re-election does not change his approach to the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Some believe not running for another term takes political pressure off of Portman if he wanted to vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial. But on Tuesday, Portman joined all but five of his fellow Republican Senators in voting to dismiss the proceeding.
Portman said he has questions about the constitutionality of convicting a former president.
"And I'm going focus on what's the best thing to help bring America back together. Some have said, 'well you're not allowed to think about that cause this is a judicial proceeding' it's not, it's a political proceeding," Portman said.
Portman said he's leaving office because of the partisan gridlock. He added he would still make the same decision even if the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020 had different results.
"Regardless of who was elected I think I would've made the same decision but would it have made any difference in terms of the environment? I assume it would have. I don't think President Trump has been helpful in terms of closing that partisan gap. I think the gridlock has been building for decades but I think that he contributed to it," Portman said.
Portman said he plans to carry out the rest of his term but wanted to make the announcement now to give other Ohio Republicans enough time to consider a possible run.